I'm probably going to get lambasted for this one. But I'm going to say it anyway. The Seahawks are currently without a place kicker on their roster. Olindo Mare is a free agent and although he said he'd give the Hawks a discount to return, he's still a free agent and is likely to be pretty expensive. Also, he's getting pretty old and although kickers can play pretty late into their 40s, you can't really count on it. If the Hawks want to use one of their late round picks on a player with a lot of upside, an impact player that will be called on several times a game to do his thing, they may want to use that pick on Nebraska's Alex Henery.
Arguably the best field goal kicker in the history of college football, he'd come in and have the potential to provide the Hawks with a clutch, skilled, strong-legged kicker for the next 5-10 years.
Before you tell me I'm an idiot, hear me out.
Kicker is one of the more underrated positions in terms of their ability to win games at the end and with good range can change your entire strategy in certain situations. And although you can normally get them outside of the draft, why not use one of those 7th round picks to lock down your placekicker for the next decade? If you're not convinced yet, take a look at a few of these scouting reports:
First off, on his records at Nebraska:
-Alex Henery has made 89.2% of his career field goal attempts (66-of-74). The NCAA record is 87.8% by Florida's Bobby Raymond. (min. 45 attempts)
-Alex Henery has made 77.4% of his career field goals from 40 yards or longer (24-of-31). The NCAA career record is 72.1% by Georgia's Billy Bennet.
-Alex Henery has made 97.7% of his career field goals from inside 40 yards (42-of-43). The NCAA career record is 97.0% by Florida's Bobby Raymond.
-Alex Henery is tied for the NCAA record with six career games with at least four field goals.
-Alex Henery has combined to make 256 of his 265 career kicks (PATs and field goals), a 96.6% accuracy rate. The NCAA FBS career record is 94.9% set by Missouri's Jeff Wolfert.
Strengths: Tall, very lean right-footed kicker. Extremely high trajectory on kicks to prevent blocks, even from long-range. Smooth but violent through the ball. Direct three-step approach on placements. Good leg strength, puts 50-plus field goals into the bottom of the net. Reliable from either hashmark. Solid 1.3-1.35 second get-off as a punter despite taking three steps. Capable of 4.5-second hangtimes on 40-yard kicks. Height allows him to grab high snaps, also adjusts to low ones.
Weaknesses: Gets a bit loose when trying to boot a long field goal, may lose balance when footing is poor.
He's a clutch kicker that hit his deep kicks over and over with the game on the line. As John B over at Gang Green Nation put it, "In the pressure packed Big XII Championship Games of the past two seasons, Henery hit 6 of 6 field goal tries. 5 of these 6 were from over 40 yards. 2 were from over 50, including a 52 yarder that gave the Cornhuskers a late lead in the 2009 title game against Texas with under 2:00 to go. A kicker battle tested like this is a good thing."
A 6th of 7th round pick typically has a small chance to catch on and produce in the NFL. I'm just saying that I wouldn't be sad to see the Hawks invest in a clutch kicker with a rocket leg that can kick game-winners without breaking a sweat. Not only that, if Jon Ryan decides to get absolutely leveled again when he fails to punt the ball out of bounds against the Bears, Alex Henery is also a very good punter.
I think it can be a mistake to place the kicker position at the end of your priority list. They are often called on to come in and win you games, and although they are often denigrated for being lesser athletes and not "real football players" they are arguably one of the more important positions to have on lockdown. Im'm not saying the Hawks should take him earlier than the 7th, I'm not pulling an Al Davis and drafting a guy named Seabass in the first round. Pick him up late and stop worrying about that position for the next few years. This Henery guy is legit.