With free agents flying off the shelves like hotcakes, it would be almost impossible to continue doing full series on each position. With that said, we are now moving into a different type of articles that will concentrate on players from all positions that the Arizona Cardinals could possibly use on their roster.
To kick things off, let's start with a position that may not be seen as a huge need for the team, but one that could use an upgrade nonetheless. Both Ben Graham and Dave Zastudil punted for the Cards last season, but neither of them were particularly spectacular at it. Graham was only here for a week in 2011 and was cut after that, mainly because his kicks had no hangtime. As far as Zastudil goes, he struggled with target punting and although he was able to boom some downfield, he did not always provide the most ideal of situations in terms of field position.
When the Cards met the Cowboys late last season, we witnessed quite the punting display. Unfortunately, Mat McBriar was coming from the other sidelines. Now that he is an unrestricted free agent, should Arizona woo him to their side?
Many of the stats that we see with Zastudil can be a bit deceiving. First of all, he is a bit of a liability due to some of his injury concerns, especially with his knee. Mat McBriar did have some injury issues back in 2008, but other than that, he has been relatively healthy.
One of the things that the Cardinals consistently got from Ben Graham was good directional punting. Specifically, Graham seemed to be able to pin the ball within the opponent's 20-yard line every single time he took the field. In 87 punts, Zastudil was only able to do that 26 times, according to Pro Football Focus. McBriar punted the ball just 58 times and he made the Cowboys' opponents start inside their own 20-yard line 23 times.
McBriar's max hang time, return percentage and long punt were all superior to Zastudil's stats as well.
Ken Whisenhunt has always said that if the team has a chance to upgrade, then they will look into it. Although he is a punter, McBriar could make a big difference for this football organization. We see the value of having a good punter and kicker combo in the NFL (5 kickers/punters were slapped with the franchise tag this year), so if the Cardinals can stay under the cap and get a reasonable deal, McBriar could be a great long-term solution.
What are your thoughts? Should the Arizona Cardinals attempt to bring Mat McBriar into the fold to be their new punter? Or should they just re-sign Dave Zastudil? Tell us what you think and vote in the poll.