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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Coach Zauner's NFL Draft Class

The second day of the draft goes really fast! When I was a Special Teams Coach, this is the pay day. The special teams coaches work a lot of long hours and watch video to have information and input on second day players. If there are two players of equal ability, hopefully a special teams coaches information can get management to draft the better special teams player.

Today, they are going to find out which players their teams are finally going to draft. These drafted and priority free agents are going to be the players, on their Special Teams Units.

However, it can also be a very frustrating day for a special teams coaches if those needs are not met through the draft or free agency!

Sunday is also the day, if your team needs a kicker, punter, snapper, return man or special teams maven, this is the day to get him. It can be done during or immediately after the draft.I would start calling players in the 5th round letting them know that if we don't draft you, we want to sign you immediately after the draft. This is common with all NFL teams.

Even on Monday and Tuesday after the draft certain players might get signed. Everyone has a little different timetable. Today was a excellent day for my first class of One on One trainees. Two of the four specialist taken with draft picks trained with me right here in Fountain Hills, Arizona during the last two months.

The first field goal kicker taken in the draft was Taylor Mehlhaff. The New Orleans Saints with the 178th pick in the sixth round landed the big legged kicker out of the University of Wisconsin. He will compete against veteran kicker, Martin Gramatica. Taylor is a talented, left footed kicker who booms his kickoffs with the best hang times I've seen in years!

The first and only snapper taken in the draft was Tyler Schmitt. The Seattle Seahawks with their snapping woes in 2007 drafted Tyler with the 189th pick in the sixth round to land the San Diego State athlete. Tyler is an excellent snapper and cover guy. The T.V. analyst's on the NFL Total Access station couldn't believe the pick. They made several ridiculous and uninformed remarks. However, I don't think they saw the problems the Seahawks had with their snappers last season. This in my opinion was an excellent pick to take care of not only a need but solve their snapping woes!

After the draft, Gil Scott, the agent for Toledo's punter, Brett Kern called to notified me that Brett had signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos. He thanked me for my help and assistance training Brett and also for making calls to Scottie O'Brien, Broncos Special Teams Coach. He said my conversations with coach O'Brien plus the One on One workout on the web site really helped! Brett was the punter at Toledo, and I felt he was the best punter I had seen in this years draft. However, Washington took Durant Brooks in the sixth round with the 168th pick. Only time will tell.

Later in the afternoon Glenn Schwartzman the agent for Oklahoma's kicker, Garrett Hartley called to let me know that he had also, signed a free agent contract with the Denver Bronco's. Garrett was very impressive in our two day workout. He was one of the kickers I couldn't believe was not invited to the NFL Combine back in February. This is an excellent opportunity for this young man!

Later in the evening I spoke with Kenny DeBauche, Wisconsin's senior punter and learned he had signed a free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers had already signed one free agent punter earlier this spring. However, Kenny had a work out with the Packers two Special Teams Coaches, Mike Stock and Shawn Slocum, up in Green Bay two weeks after his One on One Lessons here with me. Kenny felt he had a great workout and said Coach Stock commented to him that he thought it was one of the best workouts he had ever witnessed. This is a dream come true for a kid from Bay Port High School, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The two NFL teams with the biggest Special Teams needs, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks both drafted and signed some excellent kicking specialist's this weekend. I would like to think my conversations with Seahawks Special Teams Coach, Bruce De Haven and Broncos Special Teams Coach, Scottie O'Brien paid dividends for my 2008 One on One draft class students!

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