Published by Jai Bednall, 4 September 2018 on news.com.au
AUSTRALIAN punting prodigy Michael Dickson is big-name NFL reporter Peter King’s pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Dickson, a somewhat surprising selection by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round of this year’s draft (punters rarely go that early), is riding a wave of publicity after some sparkling punts in the preseason.
King was watching as Dickson pinned the Minnesota Vikings inside their own three-yard line not once but twice with pinpoint spirals — and it was enough for him to make the monumental prediction.
“I don’t even know if a punter is an offensive or defensive player. But I’m giving Dickson this nod because he’ll lead the NFL in gross and net punting, and because punters are people too,” King wrote in his weekly column for NBC Sports.
The 22-year-old, who played Aussie rules in his teens and was a Sydney Swans talent academy member, learnt his craft with Melbourne-based ProKick Australia before starring at the University of Texas.
He averaged 52.5 yards per punt in the preseason and was given a punting grade of 89.1 by Pro Football Focus — the next closest in the league is 77.6.
“What he has shown us so far is stuff that we’d never seen,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We’ll see how it goes and if any of it fits into our game to allow us to do different things, I don’t know that yet. But he has tremendous versatility and he has an upbringing as a kicker that we’ve never seen, none of us have ever seen before. So, it’s really fun.”
The Seahawks open their season in Denver against the Broncos on Monday at 6.25am (AEST).