As far as the kicking game goes, the New York Giants have one of the league’s better one-two punches at their disposal in kicker Graham Gano and punter Riley Dixon. In return, the chances of Ryan Santoso sniffing the field this season are all but slim — at least in East Rutherford.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the ever-versatile kicker/punter is one player that is “already drawing significant trade interest around the league,” and there is belief that he “could be dealt as the season gets closer.” Per Rapoport, numerous teams have called the Giants inquiring about Santoso, who he notes has “shown himself to be starter caliber.”
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Thomas McGaughey on Santoso: ‘He Can Do Whatever’
While the 6-foot-5-inch, 258-pound Santoso may better resemble a defensive end, it’s his big leg and multi-faceted kicking ability that has evidently piqued the interest of opposing special teams coaches. A former undrafted free agent out of Minnesota, Santoso spent his first three seasons with the Gophers as the team’s primary placekicker before switching to punter as a senior.
The 25-year-old has yet to register a kick nor a punt with the Giants, but he did bounce back and forth between the team’s practice squad and active roster last season. Still, he’s certainly garnered the attention of Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey.
“He can do whatever. Ryan can punt, kick — I’m serious, he’s very talented and he’s punted in NFL games before, he’s kicked off, he can kick field goals, so Ryan is a very talented young man,” McGaughey recently said of Santoso.
Having said that, McGaughey is aware that the Giants’ current depth chart on special teams doesn’t exactly bode well for Santoso to stick around for the long haul.
“He has a job to do, he’s a kicker. He’s going in here, he’s competing for a job and not only is he competing for a job here, he’s competing for a job all over the league,” McGaughey noted. “Ryan has great upside, he’s a good man, he works his tail off. That’s what this league is all about, it’s about competition and hopefully Ryan can do enough where he can get a job, whether it’s here or somewhere else.”
In total, Santoso has appeared in three games over his NFL career, recording 17 kickoffs for 1,018 yards and nine touchbacks with the Tennessee Titans in 2019. He’s also spent time with the Detroit Lions as well as multiple stints with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.
Giants in Good Hands With Gano & Dixon
Gano, a former Pro Bowler, was a home-run addition for Dave Gettleman last offseason, proving near-automatic during his first campaign in East Rutherford — nailing 96.9% of his field goal attempts. His play earned him a well-deserved contract extension through 2023.
As for Dixon, the former seventh-round pick is far less heralded than Gano, but has flashed during his time with Big Blue. Most notably, Dixon boomed a 71-yard punt against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10 of last season, tying for the third-longest punt among all NFL punters in 2020.
“Riley has a few kicks in his bag, he’s working on a few different things,” McGaughey said. “When we work with him, we’re really focused on one punt at a time, so we’re not all over the map. We have a plan with him when he’s out there working, but he’s doing a nice job of developing the tool bag. So, we’re just going to keep working and see where we end up.”
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