Ravens’ Rookie Punter is a ‘Special’ Weapon with All-Pro Potential

Ravens P Jordan Stout kicks off.

Getty Ravens punter Jordan Stout kicks off in a preseason game on August 21, 2022.


he first-year specialist that has gotten the most hype and garnered the most headlines, and has been highlighted the most during the preseason and dating back to the draft is Buffalo Bills’ newly named starting punter, Matt Araiza. However, the most impressive rookie at the position and specialist overall including kickers through the first two weeks of the preseason has been the Baltimore Ravens’ new starting punter.

Jordan Stout was the first punter taken in this year’s draft at No. 130 overall by the Ravens in the fourth round out of Penn State. While he doesn’t have a catchy headline-grabbing nickname like Araiza who is referred to as ‘The Punt God’, his play and already masterful execution of the craft speaks for itself and have been far more impressive.

As awe-inspiring as Araiza’s nearly length of the field bombs are when he punts, they often result in touchbacks, and those that don’t travel on a straight line that is more advantageous to returners because they don’t possess much hangtime in the air. Stout’s boots are not only impressed with their distance and time spent in the air that allows his coverage unit more time to get downfield but his precision and placement in the preseason have been elite.

Against the Arizona Cardinals, he punted just three times, and all three of them pinned their offense back inside the 20-yard line on the opposite end of the field. His first two were downed inside Arizona’s five-yard line and his third went out of bounds at their 15-yard line.

“Jordan Stout bombed a couple,” Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh said in a post game press conference on August 21, 2022. “We had one where I thought the gunner got held and tackled on the sideline, and it just didn’t get called, but it didn’t matter because he put it about 60 [yards] right out of bounds, so that was nice to see.

Stout has punted a total of seven times in two preseason games for an average net of 49.28 yards and 51.3 in the Cardinals game alone. Only three of his punts thus far haven’t resulted in the opposing team’s offense starting from inside the 20-yard line. He has also been showing off his leg and versatility by sharing some of the kickoff and extra point duties with veteran All-Pro kicker Justin Tucker.

Smooth Transition from the College to Pro Level

Depending on the talent, aptitude, and position played, some rookies face a steeper learning curve than their contemporaries just taking a while to adjust to what can be a quantum leap when making the jump from the collegiate level to the professional. However, Stout said the “transition has been pretty easy” and his performance thus far has proved it.

“It hasn’t changed much at all,” Stout said in a press conference on August 23, 2022. “I feel like nothing has really changed, besides [that] I have a lot of really good coaches now – not that my coaches in college weren’t great, but they didn’t know how to coach punting; it was more like a scheme aspect.”

Impact of Coaches on Development

One of the coaches that have been instrumental in helping Stout make a seamless transition is the player he is tasked with replacing. After 16 years in the league as a fixture of not only the Ravens’ special teams as the starting punter but of the team as a whole, Sam Koch retired from playing but is now a member of the coaching staff as a special teams consultant.

Koch has been in contact and working closely with Stout since he was drafted and landed in Baltimore. The rookie described the seasoned punting technician’s transition from player to coach after over a decade and a half in the league as “remarkable”.

“Sam is genius on the field,” Stout said. “He really knows what he’s doing. And the one big thing I want to say is me and Sam are very different punters, and every day I’m out there … Let’s say I make a mistake, or I consistently make a mistake that he wouldn’t have made, he never once says, ‘Oh, well, if I was out there, I would be doing this.’ He’s always like, ‘Hey Jordan, this is what you did; let’s fix it next time.’ He’s not trying to turn me into him, which is unbelievable.”

Koch had what can aptly be described as an arsenal of punts that he developed and deployed over the course of his career that varied from directional to backspin and his placement was always on point. Stout doesn’t expect to have mastered the entire arsenal as a rookie but admitted that he has begun the process of learning quite a few.

“I’ve been working on a bunch individually, and I’m starting to pick up on a lot of them,” Stout said. “Going into the season, [special teams coach] Randy [Brown] and I chalked it up; I think we’re going to have about 16 punts we can use in different situations, so that’s going to be pretty cool.”

One of his duties as the starting punter that is just as, if not arguably even more important, is as the holder for Tucker on field goals and extra point attempts. Koch has been described by some as a “Hall of Fame holder” and while Stout believed he was already proficient in that area of his game, he quickly realized that he had some work to do upon his arrival on the team.

“I came in here thinking I was a really good holder, but I soon found out I was not,” he said. “Just learning from Justin, and especially Nick [Moore] and Sam, Randy, I’ve gotten so much better, and now I think I’m a pretty good holder, but I think that’s because of these guys and ‘drinking from that fire hose.'”

He appreciates the incredible attention to detail that Koch and the rest of the special teams coaching staff have preached and imparted to him “from being an inch further back on holding or being right on the line on punt”. The rookie still believes that he is still scratching the surface of his potential and is confident in his ability to consistently perform at a high level in year one.

“If you’re going to be one of those guys that are going out on Sundays, you have to have a lot of confidence, and I feel like that’s a part of the game that … If you don’t have confidence, you’re not going to make it, so I feel like I go out there every day with a lot of confidence.”

Stacking Up Against the Competition

While Stout was the first punter taken and Araiza was the most high-profiled, they weren’t the only specialist selected in this year’s draft. They were two of five that heard their names called on the third day. Cleveland Browns kicker Cade York out of LSU went six picks earlier than Stout at No. 124 overall and was the only kicker drafted and the other four were punters.

“I would say there absolutely is a rockstar punt class coming in, and Jake Camarda, the ‘Punt God’ [Matt Araiza], me and several more guys coming into the league this year are very talented, and it’s going to be great competing this season.”

The Ravens’ offense is primed for a major bounce back with the return of several starters and key players from injury coupled with the new additions on the offensive line and offensive skill positions. Even though he likely won’t see the field as often as some of the other punters around the league, Stout has the potential to not only be the best of the rookie bunch, but he could establish himself as one of the best at the position altogether.

His already advanced prowess as both a strong-legged and technically sound punter could earn him serious consideration for All-Pro honors by the end of his rookie season.