The final player I have not mentioned in this series of posts on the class of undrafted free agents signed by the Seahawks is former Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs. Wiggs will be an interesting player to keep an eye on during training camp and the preseason because he's said to possess a very strong leg and could potentially challenge Steven Hauschka for his job.
Wiggs famously hit a 67-yard field goal in Purdue's spring game (so, in practice) last year, and his long in a game was a 59-yarder in 2009. He holds the record for the five longest field goals in Purdue history, went 40-of-41 in PATs in 2011 and 19-25 (one blocked) on field goals to finish 56-of-76 on his career. He's got a big leg, averaging 65 yards per kickoff (he's reportedly good in the hang-time department as well) and Purdue's coverage teams were first in the Big Ten.
Wiggs stood out at the Senior Bowl, first for weighing in at 221 pounds after being listed sub-200 in the media guide (no one had bothered to change it since he arrived on campus), then for his solid performance that week.
"Carson has a natural, fluid kick, which made it easy for us to build chemistry quickly," former Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman, the holder on Wiggs' kicks, said. "His ability to focus under pressure really stood out to me. Every opportunity he had to perform in front of scouts, he had the confidence and focus to dominate, which he did."
During the week of practice leading up to Saturday's game, Wiggs also received high praise for his kickoff ability, frequently booting touchbacks five yards deep into the end zone against heavy winds.
"The coaches said they were impressed with my leg strength," Wiggs said. "It's good to work with guys at the next level and get the professional point of view. I learned a lot."
Wiggs was one of the top performers of the Senior Bowl, hitting three field goals from 27, 32, and 28 yards in addition to kicking two extra points in the North team's 23-13 victory. Nortman said Wiggs was one of the top performers during the week of practice leading up to Saturday's game.
Wiggs, over his career at Purdue, has converted at least five onside kicks, even recovering one of those kicks on his own. The main question concerns his intermediate accuracy - his field goal percentage is fairly pedestrian and if accuracy is an issue going forward I don't see the Seahawks favoring big kickoffs over dependability in the mid-range on field goals. Points are points - you can't underestimate the value of having an reliable field goal kicker - something Steven Haushcka is, and that gives him the edge. The other wrinkle that makes Wiggs interesting is that he also handled punting duties for a stretch at Purdue, averaging 35 yards on 23 punts, with a long of 53. Versatility can be a boost. All in all - it doesn't look like Jeff Reed will be getting a call to provide competition in camp.