The second of the Australian punters in the 2016 NFL draft is possible the best punter Australia has never heard of.
Alex Kinal, a punter out of Wake Forest college who grew up in Adelaide, South Australia continues the long line of ex-Australian Rules Football players turn college punters. Kinal was not a bad AFL player either, representing South Australia at junior level before making the move to America.
I grew up in South Australia, basically saw a couple Aussie guys playing football in the NFL. I started really watching it and thought I’d give it a go.
School: Wake Forest
Measurements: 6’4”, 95.7kg (211 lbs)
Combine/Pro Day summary: Alex Kinal punted outdoors in the football stadium and did a good job. He is a priority free-agent pickup possibility or low-round draft pick. – Gil Brandt, NFL.com
Kinal averaged 41.3 yards per punt in 2015. He had averages of 43.6, 39.7 and 40.7 the previous three years. His career long was 73 yards. Kinal had a quality week at the Senior Bowl. – Walterfootball.com
Alex Kinal has broken multiple school records in his college career, yet has flown under the radar of punters such as fellow Aussie Tom Hackett.
Kinal ranked ninth nation wide in 2015 with a 41.3 net punting average, had 32 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl (the post-season college all-star game).
Kinal holds the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) record for most punt in a college career, and is widely regarded as one of the most NFL ready punters in this years draft.
Nominated as team captain (another Aussie as team captain), Kinal punted so many times in the 2014 season, he outgained the entire Wake Forest offense by almost a staggering 1000 yards.
60yd punt — bad error by Vandy returner https://t.co/SmqeryLRSc
— Cole Hartley (@ColeFartley) January 28, 2016
Scouting reports do worry about the lower trajectory and below average hang time of Kinal, yet holds the fourth best all-time punt-average at Wake Forest. In 2014, Kinal was second in the ACC for punts inside 20, and second in the league for punts over 50 yards.
The assessment of his performance at the Senior Bowl contradicts the NFL scouting report as well, with the Houston Chronicle singing his praises.
Booming punts with distance and hang time, Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal delivered a strong performance at the Senior Bowl this week.
Kinal’s strength is his accuracy, highlighted by the fact in 337 punts spanning over four college seasons, Kinal only recorded nine touchbacks (where an over-kicked punt is touched in the end-zone). In other words, only 2.6% of the time.
Like most punters, Kinal (pronounced KIN-uhl by the way), may miss out in the draft due to the distaste toward using a draft pick on a punter.
Kinal would be a red hot favourite to be picked up as a priority free agent post-draft though, and will likely fight for a spot in training camp this season.