The New England Patriots were involved in a series of moves on Wednesday. Early in the day, the Tennessee Titans claimed veteran cornerback Terrence Mitchell off the Patriots practice squad.
The former Los Angeles Charger, who also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, was with the Patriots through training camp and the preseason.
Vizcaino was one of the last players cut when the Patriots trimmed their roster down to 53. In Vizcaino’s career, the 26-year-old from Chino Hills, California, has made nine of his ten field goal attempts.
His longest-made field goal was a 47-yarder during his rookie season with the 49ers. Based on what he has shown in the NFL, it is a wonder he hasn’t found a more permanent job on an NFL team. While it is a small sample size, Vizcaino’s 90% accuracy rate is better than every other starting kicker in the NFL, except for the Baltimore Ravens’ future Hall-of-Famer Justin Tucker, the Kansas City Chiefs Harrison Butker, and the Cleveland Browns’ super rookie Cade York. He has nailed all five field goal attempts in his young career.
Vizcaino’s college career with Washington had him splitting time as a kicker and punter. He didn’t take on full-time kicking duties until his senior season. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very consistent, making just 12 of 19 attempts that year. It would appear he’s found his groove, but his inconsistency in college led to him going undrafted and needing to prove himself on practice squads and other spot duties with the 49ers and Chargers.
As good as it appears Vizcaino can be, the Patriots still have veteran Nick Folk in place, and he’s been solid for the last two seasons.
The question is: how long will he continue to perform on this level?
Is Nick Folk’s Job Safe?
Clearly, the Patriots like Vizcaino. They wouldn’t bring him back at this juncture if they didn’t believe he could potentially be the team’s kicker of the future. How far away is the future?
Folk will be 38 in November, and he’s off to an iffy start to the 2022 season. He has only attempted two field goals making one and missing the other. The miss came on a 54-yard attempt, so it’s somewhat excusable.
However, Bill Belichick and Co. are probably watching his performance closely because of his age. If Vizcaino is on the practice squad showing accuracy and leg strength in his role, it would not be a shock to see him get the nod this season.
Examining the Other Patriots Moves
On Wednesday, New England also traded offensive tackle Justin Herron and a seventh-round pick in 2024 to the Las Vegas Raiders for a sixth-round pick in 2024. The trade will reunite Herron with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Also, the Patriots signed WR-turned-TE Scotty Washington to the team’s practice squad. Before bringing Washington in, the Patriots released former Buffalo Bills tight end Jalen Wydermyer to make room for the move.
Three-time Super Bowl champion Marcus Cannon appears to be taking Herron’s spot on the roster.