Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2009 Round 5 #172 – Dallas Cowboys – K David Buehler

The Dallas Cowboys picked a placekicker, USC’s David Buehler, with the 36th pick in the 5th round.

How in the world does that make sense? They drafted Nick Folk two years ago and he made it to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.  He was excellent last year, too.  Unless  they plan to keep two kickers on the active roster, this is a wasted pick.

DMN’s Tim McMahon thinks that the ‘Boys will indeed keep two, making Buehler a kickoff specialist.  He adds, “Buehler made big news at the combine by putting up 25 bench press reps, more than some first-round offensive linemen. He practiced at fullback and safety for the Trojans, so maybe Buehler can help the scout team, too.”  Man, if we’re drafting kickers as safety and fullback projects, we’re in worse shape than I thought. agrees that he’s a tremendous athlete, though.


Unlike most place-kickers, Buehler is an impressive athlete with exceptional strength for a player at his position. He proved that recently at the NFL Combine, where his 25 repetitions bench pressing 225 pounds was more than even three of the 2009 NFL Draft’s elite offensive linemen, Michael Oher of Mississippi, Eugene Monroe of Virginia and Max Unger of Oregon. One look at his family tree, you can see that stellar athletes are the norm in the Buehler household.

His father, John, was a three-year letterman (1969-71) on Southern California’s track team as a shot putter. His uncle, George Buehler, lettered in football at Stanford for three seasons (1966-68) and then played offensive guard with the Oakland Raiders (1969-78) and Cleveland Browns (1978-79). Another uncle, Charles, lettered in football at Stanford for three years (1960-62).

During his prep and junior college playing days, Buehler served as his team’s place-kicker, linebacker and running back. He also competed in volleyball, golf and track. Upon his arrival at Southern California in 2006, he also worked at fullback and strong safety.

Still, it is his strong kicking leg that he will make his professional living. He holds the distinction of being the only the second kicker in school history to score at least 100 points (2007) in a season, joining Ryan Killeen (122 in 2003, 112 in 2004). Buehler’s kickoff abilities are also quite special. On 180 kickoffs, 105 of them (58.3 percent) have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line, with 69 resulting in touchbacks (38.3 percent).

Buehler handled kicking chores at Canyon High School, where he also saw action as a fullback and linebacker. He earned 2004 All-Century League honors as a senior. He also lettered in volleyball, golf and track.

As a freshman, Buehler attended Santa Ana Junior College. Playing on both offense and defense, in addition to handling kickoff chores he was selected to the All-Mission Conference National Division first-team. He registered 25 touchbacks on his 58 kickoffs, and 29 tackles (19 solos) with one interception as a linebacker. Playing fullback, he rushed for 50 yards on nine carries (5.6 avg) with five touchdowns and also caught a pass for a 2-yard score in ten games.

Buehler transferred to Southern California in 2006, playing behind the late Mario Danelo during his first year in the program. He appeared in 11 games, making his only field-goal try, a 49-yarder vs. California, the longest three-pointer by a USC kicker since 1998. He kicked off eight times, pinning the opponent inside the 20-yard line on six of those attempts, including three touchbacks.

With the tragic death of Mario Danelo, Buehler inherited the place-kicking chores for the Trojans in 2007. The All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention scored 100 points on 16 of 19 field goals and 52 of 54 extra-point attempts. He added three solo tackles and pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line on 35 of his 84 kickoffs, producing 18 touchbacks.

Buehler was named the Trojans’ co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2008. He added All-Pac 10 Conference first-team honors, as he amassed 92 points, delivering on 9 of 13 field goals and 65 of 66 PATS. He pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line 64 times on 88 kickoffs that included 48 touchbacks.

Junior College

He made the 2005 All-Mission Conference National Division first team as a freshman placekicker, linebacker and running back at Santa Ana (Calif.) Junior College. He had 25 touchbacks on his 58 kickoffs in 2005, plus recorded 24 tackles and one interception

High School

Attended Canyon (Anaheim, Cal.) High School, earning All-Century League team honors as a senior…Also lettered in volleyball, golf and track.


Positives: NFL-caliber leg strength. Capable of handling kickoff and field-goal duties at the next level. Accurate. Gets good, quick elevation on his kicks. Rare size and athleticism for a kicking prospect. Can break down and make the open-field tackle in coverage. Practiced at fullback and safety with the Trojans. Unfazed by jump in competition from junior college to USC.

Negatives: Regressed as a senior in his deep accuracy. Only made 1-of-4 career field goal attempts against rival UCLA. Lacks experience in clutch situations; USC rarely played in close games.

Scouts, Inc. says he’s the 3rd best kicker in the draft:

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2005: Buehler started his career at Santa Ana (Calif.) Junior College where he kicked and contributed at the linebacker and running back positions. 2006: Transferred to USC appearing in a back-up role and connecting on his only field goal attempt. (49 yards) Also recorded three touchbacks in six kickoff attempts. 2007: Connected on 52 of 54 extra point attempts and 16 of 19 field goal attempts. He also averaged 64.6 yards and recorded 18 touchbacks on 86 attempts while kicking off. 2008: Hits on nine-of-13 field goal attempts with a long of 43 yards. Also average 67.9 yards and notched 48 touchbacks with his 88 kickoff attempts.
Height-Weight-Speed 1 Tremendous frame, bulk and strength for the position.
Durability 1 Durability is not a concern as he has yet to miss playing time due to injury.
Character 2 Related to George Buehler (Uncle) who played guard in the NFL for a total of 10 seasons with the Raiders and Browns. Also no off-the-field incidents we are currently aware of.

UPDATE:Tim MacMahon reports, “David Buehler won’t be just a kickoff specialist.”

David Buehler is a football player whose best skill happens to be booting kickoffs into the end zone. That isn’t the only thing the Cowboys plan to have him do, though.

Nick Folk has a firm grip on the point-scoring part of the kicking job. But new special teams coach Joe DeCamillis told Buehler that the Cowboys plan to expand his special teams role past kickoffs. “I believe I’m a kickoff/special teams player, but I’m not positive,” Buehler said. “I’m going in there with my eyes wide open.”

Buehler, the 172nd overall pick, played linebacker, running back and kicker in junior college. He practiced at safety and fullback after transferring to USC and played on special teams as a non-kicker before becoming the full-time kicker. He has the size (6-1, 227), speed (4.62 40) and strength (27 bench-press reps) to cover punts or block for returners.

“I’m fair game,” said Buehler, who has been buddies with Folk since they met at a kicking camp a few years ago. “I’m their property now, so I’m willing to do whatever helps the team win.”

Or whatever justifies a roster spot.

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What was the nature of Folk’s injury? Speaking from first hand experience at it on the high school level, Kickers can be fragile.

With all those draft picks maybe Dallas just wanted some insurance.

Posted by Bill Jempty | April 26, 2009 | 03:12 pm | Permalink

My memory was playing tricks on me: It was the Cowboys’ young Pro Bowl PUNTER that got hurt.

Posted by James Joyner | April 26, 2009 | 03:20 pm | Permalink

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