Patrick O’Donnell, the Chicago Bears sixth round pick out of Miami, is averaging 42 yards per punt in the 2014 preseason (according to PFF). This average was derived from his two kicks Friday night vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. O’Donnell is currently competing with Tress Way for the Chicago Bears starting punter spot.
Speaking of the Chicago Bears starting punters, here’s an interesting stat. Everyone is aware how bad the defense was last year, a portion of that could be a direct result of terrible punting … O’Donnell’s current average of 42 yards is already higher than Adam Podlesh’s average for all of last season (40.6 yards). The rookie has kicked the football two times in his NFL career and he is already averaging more yards per kick than the Chicago Bears’ starter last year. O’Donnell’s 42 yard average is just 0.6 yards shy of Adam’s Podlesh’s career average. Podlesh ranked 29th and 32nd in the league last year based on net yards and average, in 2012 he ranked 19th.
Based on 2013 averages (net yardage), O’Donnell’s 42 yards per kick would rank him 30th overall, but he is expected to get better as he acclimates to the NFL. According to NFL.com he is averaging 43.5 for this season, so he could be a bit better than advertised on Pro Football Focus. He averaged 47 yards his senior season at The U.
Safe to say he was worth a 6th round pick, let’s hope he can pull away in this competition to solidify the punting spot in Chicago for years to come.