IThe New England Patriots have a history of retaining at least one undrafted free agent. In fact, the Patriots have kept at least one UDFA for 17 straight seasons. A rookie kicker Quinn Nordin, who has drawn praise from his teammates seems to have the best chance of extending the streak.
Quinn Nordin Has ‘Best’ Chance to Extend Patriots Streak of UDFA
There have been some shaky years in the past where the Patriots have come into camp with a very limited number of undrafted free agents. Still, for the past 17 years, they’ve managed to have at least one make the Week 1 roster.
In 2020, RB J.J. Taylor made the team. This year’s team will only likely have one chance to keep the streak alive for guys who didn’t hear their name called at this year’s draft, and it is Nordin.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay discussed Nordin’s situation calling him the Patriots UDFA with the best chance of making the team, more or less out of default.
He seems to at least be in the running to challenge Nick Folk for the placekicking. Nordin has drawn praise from teammates, including longtime special teams ace Matt Slater, who said the following about the rookie early on in camp (via Chris Mason of MassLive.com): “He’s got a cannon on him. There’s no doubt about that. He’s super explosive, and Quinn, he asks a ton of questions, which I love—young guys who ask questions.” Folk emerged as a steady presence in New England last season, connecting on 26-of-28 field-goal attempts and converted all 13 of his tries inside 40 yards. Nordin finished his career at Michigan having knocked through 42 of 58 field-goal tries and was shaky in his final season with just two of five attempts going through the uprights. Unless Nordin can become more consistent, Folk is likely to retain his role as the Pats’ top kicker for the 2021 campaign.
Having a strong leg is a big part of making a mark in the NFL as a kicker, but obviously, consistency is even more important. The leash will be incredibly short for a young–ore even old–kicker who proves to be unreliable in the pressure situations kickers are often placed in on gameday.
Nordin is More Than Likely Insurance
Nick Folk is the clear frontrunner to retain his job. He had a strong season for the Patriots in 2020, and barring some sort of major falloff in training camp, there is every reason to believe he’ll be back as the team’s starting kicker again in 2021.
However, Folk will be 37 in November, and injuries are always a possibility. Perhaps they are even more likely for a player close to 40. The Patriots have seemed inclined to have a young and older option in training camp at kicker the past few seasons.
In 2020, disappointing draftee Justin Rohrwasser competed with and lost out to Folk in a battle for the starting spot. Yet, he was still maintained on the practice squad most of the season until he was released earlier this year.
If nothing else, Nordin has a shot at a similar opportunity this year.
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