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From the NFL Combine: Will the Titans Pick a Kicker in the 2023 NFL Draft?


INDIANAPOLIS – Kick this question around in your head until the NFL Draft: Could the Titans draft a kicker?

At the least, the Titans need competition at the position.

It's certain the Titans need a new starter, after releasing veteran kicker Randy Bullock last month.

Here at the NFL Combine, the Titans have plenty of options to consider, including N.C. State kicker Christopher Dunn, who won the Lou Groza Award in 2023 as the nation's top kicker.

Along with Dunn, Michigan's Jake Moody, Georgia's Jack Podlesny and Maryland's Chad Ryland are considered to be among the top kickers in the 2023 NFL Draft. The team will also have options in free agency as well, and the team could also elect to sign a college kicker after the draft – it's what the Titans did with Iowa's Caleb Shudak last year.

The franchise hasn't drafted a kicker since 1992, back in the days of the Houston Oilers, and a 12-round draft.

Dunn is a proven kicker with great stats – he made 96.6 % of his field goal attempts in 2022, hitting 28-of-29 kicks, including a long of 53. In five seasons at N.C. State, he made 97-of-115 kicks and set a school record for points.

"Teams ask a lot of background stuff (in the interviews) – where you're from, what sports have you played, why should we take you," Dunn said. "(I tell them) there's a reason I made more field goals than anybody in college football. I was able to go on and set the record, winning the Lou Groza. … I am just trying to do everything I can today to set me up for a better tomorrow."

Dunn has an interesting background as well. He's a farmer – his family raises organic black Angus beef and hay. Here on Thursday, he said he even built goalposts in his yard growing up in North Carolina.

"My first one, I think it was eighth grade year, I saw (former Panthers kicker) Graham Gano hit a game-winner and I was pretty inspired by that," Dunn recalled. "Being out in the country, I went and chopped down three cedar trees and ended up making an old H-style field goal post. After that I built one out of 4X4s and I ended up making a medal one – welding it and fabricating it together and it is still in my front yard."

Podlesny was the SEC Player of the Year in 2022 after making 26-of-31 field goals, including a long of 50. He made 61-of-74 kicks in three seasons at Georgia, and 73-of-74 extra point attempts. He was a part of back-to-back national championship teams.

Kickers are scheduled to go through drills at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday.

"We'll do kickoff, and then we'll do field goals," Podlesny said of the workouts. "I think we'll hit about 15 field goals apiece, and kickoff-wise we'll hit (down the middle) and then we'll go directional left and directional right. … (On the field goals) I think the farthest we'll go back to, I wanna say, is like 58 or 60 (yards). I don't think they're going to test our distance too much, they just want (you) to show off if you have that range."

Moody, meanwhile, was the 2021 Lou Groza winner. In five seasons at Michigan, Moody converted 69-of-84 field goals and a perfect 60-of-60 on extra points.

"I know what I am capable of," Moody said. "I feel like I am worth a draft pick. I think I possess all the tools needed for that. If it were up to me, I would draft myself."

In addition to Dunn, Podlesny, Moody and Ryland, Auburn's Anders Carlson and Clemson's B.T. Potter are here at the NFL Combine as well.

Bullock made 17-of-20 field goals for the Titans in 2022, and he was a perfect 28-of-28 on his extra point attempts, but he hasn't proven to be as accurate, or as capable, as others on long-distance kicks.

Shudak, who played in college at Iowa, showed off his strong leg last offseason before suffering an injury in OTAs, and he arrived in Tennessee with impressive credentials. While at Iowa, Shudak went 24-of-28 on his field goal attempts in 2021. He was 7-of-7 from 40-49 yards, and 4-of-6 from 50-plus yards. Shudak had touchbacks on 46 of 65 kickoffs in 2021.

Shudak made 19-of-24 kicks during the open periods of OTA before his injury last offseason. When he got healthy, he kicked in a game against the Bengals last season, when he was 3-of-4 kicking field goals, and 1-1 on extra points.

Now, the Titans have to decide who his competition will be.

Will the Titans draft a kicker? Well, it's certain the team is kicking around that question, too.

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