The Dallas Cowboys have selected kicker University of Arizona kicker Nick Folk with the 4th pick in the 6th round of the 2007 NFL Draft (178th overall).
Rick Gosselin, live on The Ticket, says he was the best kicker at the combine.
The Cowboys have already re-signed Martin Gramatica and they have former Dallas Desperados kicker Carlos Martinez on the roster as well.
More importantly, in a draft that was reportedly deep in wide receivers and cornerbacks — both positions where the Cowboys could have used some youth and depth — the Cowboys have picked zero of either. Yet they took a quarterback/wide receiver project on nobody’s top 100 list and the third rated kicker in the draft.
Another head scratcher. Granted, a 6th round pick is always a reach. But this is hardly a position of need nor was Folk a can’t-pass-up kicking prospect.
UPDATE: Tim McMahon is similarly perplexed.
I’m pretty sure that a pick is a reach if the guy isn’t even included in NFL.com’s database of draft prospects. I don’t get a kicker, period, but I really don’t understand taking one not named Mason Crosby.
UPDATE AFTER GOOGLE SEARCH: Folk is 6-1, 215 pounds, so my guess is that Jerry is looking to upgrade the blocking at kicker after Martin Gramatica’s season-destroying whiff on Seattle’s Jordan Babaineaux.
Indeed, Colorado’s Mason Crosby was the highest rated kicker this year, is still on the board.
He does provide this video of Folk kicking a longish game winner against BYU:
Mickey Spagnola notes on The Ticket that Folk was both a punter and kicker in school. Goose notes that he was by far the best kickoff guy at the combine. Still, the Cowboys have a Pro Bowl punter in Mat McBriar, who they’ve just re-signed to a long term deal in the offseason.
Here’s Folks’ Scouts, Inc. profile:
Nick Folk | PK | (6’1″, 225, 4.95) | ARIZONA
Scouts Grade: 36
Strengths: Has a strong leg, can connect on long-range field goal attempts and gets good distance on kickoffs. Confident and shown the ability to come through in high-pressure situations. Has experience punting and is versatile.
Weaknesses: Though has improved in this area misses some field goal attempts inside 40 yards and accuracy is somewhat inconsistent. Kicks the ball too low at times and is vulnerable to getting blocked.
Overall: Folk arrived at Arizona in 2002 and was redshirted. In 2003, he played in 10 games, taking over as the fulltime place-kicker for the final four contests, made eight of eight extra point attempts, and missed all three field goal attempts. Folk won the starting job in 2004 for all 11 games, made 18 of 18 extra point attempts and eight of 13 field goal attempts (long; 53 yards). In 2005, he became an honorable mention All-Pac 10 performer after converting 31 of 33 extra point attempts and seven of 11 field goal attempts (long; 51 yards) in 11 contests. Folk made all 22 extra point attempts and 15 of 20 field goal attempts (long; 52 yards) in 2006 to earn first team All-Pac 10 accolades while playing in 12 games. For his career, Folk has also punted 96 times for 4,242 yards (44.2 average), with a long of 78 yards, and 36 punts downed inside the 20-yardline. Additionally, he kicked off 140 times with 83 touchbacks during the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons.
There is some concern about Folk’s accuracy but he missed just one field goal attempt inside 40 yards his senior year. He has excellent range and he is versatile. Folk projects as a late-round pick or rookie free agent.
Folk is on the phone with the gang on The Ticket. He says the Cowboys did express some interest in him and that he felt like he’d be drafted because he had so many good games late in his career. He was amused when confronted by the quote from an anonymous Cowboys official who had previously stated, “It’ll be a cold day in Hell before the Cowboys pick a kicker in the draft.”
He said he had several kicks blocked in college but it’s because his line really sucked. (He didn’t quite use those words and declined to throw any specific team mates under the bus. But that was the gist of it.)
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