Chargers Have Sights on a Kicker?

It is a position that isn't talked about in the glamour of the combines, yet every team needs one. This isn't a discussion about the water boy, but placekickers – the forgotten man. Coming into combine week one player was at the forefront for good reason, Nate Kaeding, but the San Diego Chargers are not necessarily interested in investing what it will take to get him, a first day pick. Instead they turned elsewhere…

It isn't that the Chargers don't need a kicker. They do – with the pending departure of Steve Christie and the uncertainty of Mackenzie Hoambrecker. The problem with selecting Kaeding is they have too many other holes to fill.

Yet the kicking game in a parity driven league could mean the difference between a few extra wins or a few extra losses. Even the Super Bowl would not have been such a nail biter had Adam Vinatieri made the two kicks he missed.

With only four placekickers not named Nate Kaeding on the combine docket, someone had to step it up and make a play to become the second kicker taken. Someone finally did and the San Diego Chargers, bereft of a kicker that can hit one from beyond 50, took notice.

One player who made the most of his time on Friday during the combines was Penn State kicker David Kimball. He had the best workout of all the kickers and went from a non-entity to a player who could be drafted in the latter rounds.

The reason he is so little known is he primarily handled kickoff duties for the Nittany Lions. In fact, he had just three field goal attempts last year outside of 40 yards, going 2-of-3 with the one miss coming from 60 yards. Oddly enough, all the kicks came against Ohio State. In that game, Kimball had all of his kickoffs go out of the end zone and a few split the uprights.

In his third season handling kickoff duties, he produced 58 touchbacks on his 83 kickoffs (69.8 pct.).

So, why the interest in Kimball specifically?

With the loss of Darren Bennett, the team will allow Mike Scifres to handle punting duties and may wish to take him off kickoff detail. Kimball would allow them to do that. He is obviously able in kickoffs and has raw ability to handle field goals.

Who else is out there that made an appearance at the combines?

Josh Scobee - Louisiana Tech - During his senior year he hit 21 of 31 field goals and all 31 extra points. He hit four of seven field goals from 50-plus yards during the season while also having 67 percent of his kickoffs go for touchbacks.

Nick Setta - Notre Dame - Setta went 9-of-10 on the season on field goals during the season with a long of 47. He went 2-3 outside of 40 yards. He went 5-5 in one game in '02 and made all eight of his attempts outside of forty yards as a junior.

Kirk Yliniemi - Oregon St - He went 19-for-23 as a senior with a long of 54 yards. Outside of 50 he was 3-of-4, but was just 1-of-3 from 40-49 yards. For his career, Yliniemi went 37-of-43, while compiling an 11-for-14 mark outside of 40 yards.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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