New PAT Problematic For Dolphins’ Sturgis?

In 2015, kickers will attempt extra points from the 15 yard line. How will Caleb Sturgis fare with this rule change?

Despite being taken 166th overall in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Caleb Sturgis has not reached his potential as a kicker for the Miami Dolphins.

By drafting Sturgis, the Dolphins released starting kicker Dan Carpenter, who eventually signed with the Buffalo Bills. In his rookie campaign, Sturgis started off on fire, connecting on his first seven field goals, and it appeared as though the Dolphins had found their best kicker since Olindo Mare. However, Sturgis hit a slump, and finished the 2013 season 26 for 34 (76.5%). He ranked 29th in field goals made for the season, and the Dolphins bitterly watched Dan Carpenter go 33 for 36 (91.7%) for the Bills. Included in his eight missed field goals, Sturgis was unable to connect on multiple kicks at crucial times in games, ultimately costing the Dolphins wins.

One area Sturgis has been solid in throughout his first two seasons is extra points. He is a perfect 74 for 74 on point after attempts, but that could change in 2015. The NFL has pushed the extra point back to the 15 yard line, making each kick about a 33 yard field goal. Sturgis has not exactly been perfect from kicks in the 30-39 yard range, connecting on 17 out of 20 kicks. His average from this range is not terrible, but it isn’t perfect like his percentage from the previous extra point spotting. As the Dolphins experienced last season, every point (and kick) counts and can alter the outcome of a game. They had four games decided by four points or fewer last season alone. I think it is safe to say the extra point rule change will be a factor in close games next season, and the Dolphins need to make sure it doesn’t come back to haunt them late in games.

I think the Dolphins' best move is to bring in a veteran kicker to compete with Sturgis. He could only benefit from competition and the game-like pressure that comes with it in practice. With the rule change, the position has become increasingly important, and having a confident and able kicker will be high on each team’s list heading into training camp. That being said, there is a lot to like about Sturgis, including his cannon of a leg (he has the power to hit from 72 yards). If he can put in the work this off-season, I see Sturgis having the best year of his career and continuing his perfect streak on extra points, even if it is now a 33 yarder.

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