LAS VEGAS — Yes, folks, kickers are football players, too.
With the 124th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Browns have selected LSU placekicker Cade York. Though there has always been considerable debate as to whether teams should use draft capital on the position, it does help fill a need for the Browns, one that has caused headaches for fans ever since Phil Dawson's departure nearly a decade ago.
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A native of McKinney, Texas, York was an All-American and three-time All-SEC honoree in three years with the Tigers, whom he helped win a national championship as a freshman in 2019. The 22-year-old made 81.8% of his field goal attempts, with a career-long of 57 yards.
Since Dawson left after the 2012 season, the Browns have gone through a revolving door of mostly mediocre kickers, most recently Chase McLaughlin last season. McLaughlin has been re-signed and will presumably compete with York for the starting job in training camp, but after a hot start to the 2021 campaign missed seven kicks over his last 24 games.
Here's what NFL Network analyst Lance Zierlein had to say about York:
"York was a highly ranked kicker coming out of high school and has played at a consistently high level for LSU. He gets consistent rotation on kicks from all distances and is usually near the middle of the uprights. He didn't handle kickoff duties at LSU, but has the leg to do so as a pro and should become a good NFL kicker early in his career."
York's selection marks the 12th time the Browns have drafted a kicker since 1961. Other than Don Cockroft (1967), none of the previous selections lasted more than one full season with the team.