Whether Harrison Butker gets drafted at some point this weekend may be up to the fickleness of the NFL draft process.
However, it’s a near certainty that, if the former Georgia Tech kicker is not one of the 253 players selected, that he’ll be signed to an undrafted free-agent contract.
Following his record-setting career at Tech, an impressive showing at the NFL draft combine and another at Tech’s Pro Day, four teams put him through private workouts and one team brought him in for a visit, according to Butker’s agent, Jordan Hagedorn.
Hagedorn said that about half the league’s teams have inquired in some form.
“I personally see him getting drafted,” Hagedorn said. “There’s enough teams that are interested.”
Hagedorn’s sense is that only one kicker is rated higher on draft boards than Butker, Arizona State’s Zane Gonzalez. And Hagedorn suspects that perhaps teams have been coy about that rating, trying to keep knowledge of their preference for Butker suppressed. On the NFL website, Butker was assigned a grade of 4.9. A 5.0 grade means “50/50 chance of making the roster.” Two kickers had higher grades.
In one private workout, according to Hagedorn, Butker nailed a field-goal try from 63 yards down the middle. It followed a senior season in which he was 17 for 18 on field-goal tries and was sixth in the country in touchback rate (74 percent). He finished his career as Tech’s all-time leading scorer.
“I don’t know many special-teams coaches that would say, ‘Yeah, he’s OK, but …,” Hagedorn said.
Butker’s prospects for getting selected may depend on how soon, and when, Gonzalez and other kickers get drafted, which could create a run on the position. In the past five years, 1.8 kickers have been selected per draft, nine total. Four were taken in one year, 2012. Eight of the nine were taken in rounds 5-7.
Not getting selected might play to his advantage, as he could potentially handpick from among several teams and also feel less pressure to perform.
Tech has had one kicker drafted in school history, Scott Sisson in 1993.
“He’s ready to get on with a team and get to work,” Hagedorn said.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.