Jake Bailey has made an impact in his debut NFL season.
NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling included the New England Patriots punter among his picks for NFL All-Rookie Team Wednesday. Wesseling selected both Bailey and the Cleveland Browns’ Jamie Gillan for All-Rookie recognition because both have proven themselves to be among the elite players at their position in 2019.
“This is simply too close to call in a rare season that features two rookies among the five most effective punters in football,” Wesseling wrote. “Christened the ‘Scottish Hammer,’ Gillan has been more decorated, capturing AFC Special Teams Player of the Month honors in September. Bailey has been just as impressive, capturing the heart of special teams aficionado Bill Belichick for his ability to pin returners against the sideline inside the 20-yard line. How close are these two punters? According to Pro Football Focus, they have nearly identical numbers in net average (41.5 for Gillan vs. 41.2 for Bailey), return yardage (145 for Gillan vs. 142 for Bailey), percentage returned (28.8 for Gillan vs. 32.9 for Bailey) and downed punts (11 each). Although Bailey has landed more punts inside the 20-yard line (35 vs. 26), Gillan holds the edge in nickname, goldilocks and biceps.”
Vanity points aside, the race for All-Rookie punter seems to be a tie with three games remaining.
Bailey has justified the faith the Patriots’ have held in him since April when they traded up four spots in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft in order to select him. New England subsequently cut longtime punter Ryan Allen and gave Bailey the job.
Bailey has twice claimed AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, and recognition of his contributions only will increase as the stakes in each game spike.
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