NFL Draft: Patriots trade up and draft Maryland K Chad Ryland, also take a punter
On Friday night, the San Francisco 49ers made the rare move of drafting a kicker in the third round. When they took Jake Moody, it was just the second kicker to go in the first three rounds since 2005.
The New England Patriots must have felt left out.
On Saturday, the Patriots drafted a kicker. Not only did they draft one, they traded up in the fourth round to get him.
The Patriots traded picks 120 and 184 to the New York Jets to get the 112th overall pick. With that pick they took Maryland kicker Chad Ryland.
That's rare too. From 2011 through the start of this draft, only two kickers had gone in the first four rounds. The 49ers and Patriots matched that total in the 2023 Draft.
The Patriots weren't done on special teams. In the sixth round they took Bryce Baringer, a punter out of Michigan State. The Patriots are the first team since the 2000 Raiders to take a kicker and punter in the same draft, according to ESPN Stats and Info. The Raiders took kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round and punter Shane Lechler in the fifth, and that worked out pretty well. Both players had long, successful careers.
Ryland started at Eastern Michigan, then spent his final college season at Maryland. He hit 49 of 58 field goal attempts his final three seasons. He was second-team all-Big Ten last season, which isn't that bad because he was kicking in the same conference as Moody.
This draft wasn't too deep at a lot of positions. Apparently, it was pretty rich at kicker. And the Patriots found a punter too.