Patriots’ Lone Undrafted Rookie Earns High Praise From Longtime Captain

'He's got a cannon on him'


July 27, 2021

An undrafted rookie has made the New England Patriots’ Week 1 roster in each of the last 17 seasons. It’ll be up to kicker Quinn Nordin to continue that streak.

Sounds like he’s off to a promising start.

Nordin, the only UDFA to sign with the Patriots this offseason, received a positive review Tuesday from longtime special teams captain Matthew Slater, who praised the Michigan product’s powerful leg and inquisitive attitude.

“He’s got a cannon on him,” Slater said in a video conference. “There’s no doubt about that. He’s super explosive, and Quinn, he asks a ton of questions, which I love — young guys who ask questions. He’s trying to learn. He’s trying to improve every day. He’s trying to do the right thing.

“You can’t ask for more from a young player who’s eager to learn and improve and just to come on and work hard. And really our whole rookie class has kind of embraced that mentality this year.”

Nordin’s leg strength was hard to miss during organized team activities and minicamp. In one spring practice, he booted a field goal that landed on the roof of an adjacent building.

The Patriots released kicker Roberto Aguayo after minicamp, setting up a training camp battle between Nordin and veteran Nick Folk.

“When you go watch (Nordin), you can see the leg speed and see the leg power that he generates,” special teams coach Cam Achord said in June, via NBC Sports Boston. “So he’s a very intriguing guy to work with. … We’ve all got a lot of guys in here that are here to compete, and you’ve just got to iron it out day after day. But he’s got enough intangibles that he’s one of the guys you want to work with, for sure.”

“Leg speed” and “leg power” certainly are traits you want in a kicker, but Nordin will need to prove he can kick the ball accurately, too. He converted just 72.4 percent of his field-goal attempts over his four years with the Wolverines (42 of 58), including 2 of 5 in four games last season.

Folk doesn’t boast the strongest leg but was uber-reliable in 2020, converting 92.9 percent of his field-goal tries. He ended the season with 26 consecutive makes, including 50-plus-yard game-winners against the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals.

Nordin will need to match Folk’s consistency if he hopes to unseat the 36-year-old and land a roster spot.

“I look forward to working with Quinn,” Slater said. “He’s in a great room with some great veteran players. Between Nick and Joe (Cardona) and Jake (Bailey), he can learn a great deal. So I’m sure he’ll continue to learn. He’s going to get some good coaching, and we’ll see how it plays out.”

Thumbnail photo via Eric Adler/New England Patriots
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