Here’s an interesting way to look at a kicker. Instead of basing it solely off of field goal percentage, why not look at it from points expected? That’s what Optimum Scouting did in a recent article. In their mind, and I tend to agree, it avoids penalizing kickers who are asked to make more difficult kicks, inherently lowering their field goal percentage.
This is how the site, written by Justis Mosqueda, framed his research.
- 20>-yard field goal attempts (9 of 9): 3.0 expected points per attempt
- 20-29-yard field goal attempts (238 of 243): 2.93 expected points per attempt
- 30-39-yard field goal attempts (258 of 301): 2.57 expected points per attempt
- 40-49-yard field goal attempts (254 of 320): 2.38 expected points per attempt
- 50<-yard field goal attempts (107 of 154): 2.08 expected points per attempt
That in mind, Chris Boswell ranked as the 6th most valuable kicker, netting the Pittsburgh Steelers 7.5 more points than expected. You can view the top ten kickers in the above link.
What makes that more impressive is he barely had any additional value on field goals 19 to 39 yards, netting only a +0.6. That was worse than all but one kicker who cracked the top 10.
On attempts 40-49 yards out, he netted a +3.2 points and did even better on 50+, improving that number to +3.7. Of the ten who made the cut, only Atlanta’s Matt Bryant finished better. Boswell went a perfect 4/4 on 50+ a year ago.
Leading everyone was San Fran’s Robbie Gould with a +14.5, one of only three kickers to crack the double-digits. At the bottom was Blair Walsh, a -11. To no one’s surprise, he’s a free agent.
It’s why the team is beginning to work on a long-term deal while Boswell currently plays on his 2nd round RFA tender. The Steelers have a good one and though kickers are fickle players, he’s shown remarkable consistency for how young of a player he is. This study only backs it up.