Former Georgia Tech kicker Harrison Butker was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. He was the 233rd pick overall and the fourthkicker taken in the draft.
Butker, who became Tech’s all-time leading scorer in the final game of his career, became just the second kicker in school history to be drafted. He joins perhaps the most celebrated Tech kicker ever, Scott Sisson.
At Carolina, Butker will compete with Graham Gano, an eight-year NFL veteran from Florida State. Going into the last year of a four-year contract with the Panthers, Gano was 30-for-38 on field-goal tries, 78.9 percent. It was 22nd among kickers who had attempted 25 or more field goals. Gano, who had offseason surgery to repair a broken bone in his left (plant) foot, had been above 80 percent in each of his previous four seasons with the Panthers.
Not a small consideration is that Gano is scheduled to make $3.2 million this season in base salary, while Butker most likely would draw $465,000 in base salary plus signing bonus.
A four-year starter, Butker did not attempt many field goals, both in his career (60) and senior season (17), nor did he earn All-ACC honors. But he proved himself a clutch kicker with a powerful leg. He finished sixth nationally in 2016 in touchback percentage (74 percent) and was 4-for-7 in his career on field-goal tries of 50 yards or longer.
With his selection, Tech has had a player selected in the past four drafts and 11 of the past 12 years.
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