The New England Patriots have an entire round dedicated to specialists.
The Patriots barely pick in the fifth round unless that player can contribute on special teams. The Patriots, of course, spent their 2020 fifth-round pick on Marshall kicker Justin Rohrwasser, taking him 159th overall. The Patriots passed on other perceived needs like quarterback and wide receiver to grab Rohrwasser.
The position was obvious in the fifth round. The Patriots have taken a long snapper, two punters and Matthew Slater in the fifth round since Bill Belichick became head coach. The Patriots were either going to spend a fourth- or fifth-round pick on a kicker. They traded away their fourth-round picks Friday night to select tight end Dalton Keene. So, they spent their first Day 3 selection on the position.
The player, however? Not obvious. Rohrwasser was not on our radar before the draft. He was great last season, however, going 18-of-21 on field goals and 35-of-36 on extra-point attempts. Rohrwasser was 2-of-2 on 50-plus yard field goals. His long was from 53 yards.
He went 15-of-21 on field goals and 44-of-46 on extra points in 2018. He didn’t kick a 50-plus yarder that season, and his long was from 40 yards out.
Rohrwasser is a massive kicker at 6-foot-3, 234 pounds. He began his college career at URI before transferring to Marshall in 2018.
Now, he is the only kicker on the Patriots’ roster after they released Stephen Gostkowski. Big-legged punter Jake Bailey still could handle kickoff duties next season, however.
Rohrwasser is the first kicker to be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. He went before projected top prospects like Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia Southern’s Tyler Bass, Miami (OH)’s Sam Sloman and Oklahoma State’s Matt Ammendola.
If anyone knows kickers, it’s Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. He’s had two great ones during his time with the Patriots in Adam Vinatieri and Gostkowski. After Gostkowski went down with an injury last season, the Patriots filed through Mike Nugent, Nick Folk and Kai Forbath. They also had Younghoe Koo and Josh Gable briefly on their practice squad.
Rorhwasser will get a long look in training camp and preseason, assuming they happen, before he’s officially handed the reins to the job in 2020.