In an effort to put an end to the long-standing question of “Who does he remind me of?” Keagan Stiefel has compiled a list of player comparisons for the New England Patriots’ 2020 draft class. Each will get a pro comparison and a comparison to a current or former Patriot. Now, these rookies are not necessarily going to become those that they are compared to, but they share similarities in terms of playing style.
The Patriots entered this offseason looking to replace 20 years of production. They selected Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round of April’s draft to become the team’s next franchise kicker. Did you guys think I was talking about someone else?
- Justin Rohrwasser
- Position: Kicker
- Height: 6’3”
- Weight: 229 lbs
We’re all thinking about it so I’ll begin by addressing the rough start that Rohrwasser got off too. During the draft, some pictures surfaced that showed off a controversial tattoo representing the “Three Percenters,” a group that has been described as a right-wing militia named after the roughly three percent of colonists who took up arms against the British — a tattoo that has since been removed.
Now we will talk about the player.
First and foremost you would be hard pressed to find a kicker with a bigger frame than Rohrwasser. The man is larger than a lot of NFL receivers, let alone kickers:
Secondly, what really stands out when watching him kick is his funky motion. You can see what that looks like compared to former Patriots kickers Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Vinatieri.
Before the comp I want to show off Rohrwasser’s funky motion. You can see here that he’s got a little hop in his approach and a wide open swing. Here he is compared to a couple of Patriot legends. pic.twitter.com/kFNLgnP6vY— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) August 26, 2020
Now let’s check out the comps.
- Stephen Hauschka
- Position: Kicker
- Height: 6’4”
- Weight: 210 lbs
The size comparison is obvious, both men are bigger than your average kicker and I believe that contributes to similarities in playing style. First, you can see that here in their approach to the ball. Both guys stay upright. Most other NFL kickers have a pronounced lean into the ball.
Playing style wise, these guys both take a different approach than we are used to seeing. Look at how upright they are in comparison to Vinatieri and Gostkowski. pic.twitter.com/13v4QLyowk— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) August 26, 2020
The second thing that comes from their size is the leg. Both Rohrwasser and Hauschka have naturally strong legs that allow them the opportunity to take the approach they do and help them ease into their swings. They can both hit from 50+ yards fairly easily.
They also share a big leg. Both guys can boom the football. Here they are making 50 and 60+ yard field goals. pic.twitter.com/RPo1K6H7qf— keagan (@KeaganStiefel) August 26, 2020
In terms of negatives, the main thing is obviously inconsistency. Both have a tendency to be erratic, especially in the middle areas (30-45 yards). You can see that in how the ball travels off of their foot. Look at the tweet referencing their big legs to see those inconsistencies.
- Nick Folk
- Position: Kicker
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 222 lbs
The problem with the Patriots being so good at picking kickers is there aren’t a lot to choose from when doing something like this. I sure as hell wasn’t going to choose from the team’s all time leading scorer (Gostkowski) or the most clutch kicker in NFL history (Vinatieri), so I decided on Rohrwasser’s teammate.
Nick Folk came in last year and did an admirable job filling in for Gostkowski. He went for 14 for 17 in 2019 with his few misses coming in the 40-49 yard range. That is where the comparison lies.
Both guys have consistency issues in that range. In terms of the mechanics they are pretty different, Rohrwasser has a much stronger leg and does all the things I mentioned before while Folk has a wider swing and a pronounced lean in his approach. Despite that, I decided to compare them because what really matters is whether they can put the ball between the uprights.
Can they do that consistently? No.
Overall Rohrwasser’s ceiling projects to be Stephen Hauschka. He can make a name for himself by making long kicks but he will probably never be Gostkowski or Vinatieri. I don’t see him long for this roster, he might not even make it this year based on his training camp performance versus Folk.