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Monday, April 26, 2010

Dude Wheres my Punter? Zoltan Mesko

By: Greg
ZOLTAN! Well maybe Zoltan Mesko is not the guy from Dude Wheres my Car, but he is one hell of a pick up.

You may be asking yourself why did the Patriots take a punter in the 5th round? Well because ZOLTAN! can punt his ass off. In the last two seasons, the former soccer player averaged about 44 yards a kick and had 39 kicks inside the twenty and NO punts blocked.
The Patritos have had so many problems with field position and punting over the last ten plus years. Chris Hanson was one of the worst punters in the leauge, bringing in the best punter in the NCAAs is a huge plus for the Pats special teams.
Zoltan can not only boot the ball far but he is also a directional kicker who can pin teams down inside the 10 yard line.

 Notes from CBS Sports

This native of Romania traded a soccer uniform for football digs as a high school freshman and became a four-year punter for the Wolverines. The 2009 Ray Guy Award finalist and first-team All-Big Ten honoree earned All-American recognition as a senior and is the top punting prospect in the draft.

His gross punting average increased over the last three years, going from 41.6 yards per punt as a redshirt freshman to 41.1 in 2007, 43.0 in a first-team All-Big Ten junior season, and finally 44.5 last season, when he set a school record and ranked in the top 10 nationally. But where Mesko really stands out is with 18 fair catches forced and a ratio of 15 punts inside the 20 to just three touchbacks. His 2008 numbers in those categories were even more impressive (21, 24-3).

Being left-footed is also a positive for Mesko. His kicks have a different spin than most punt returners are used to seeing. Add that to his combination of extension, leg strength, hangtime, and touch around the goal line, and Mesko is the best at a position most NFL teams consider a 12th starter on defense.

Has prototypical size and leg extension for the position. Adjusts well to high and low snaps. Good leg strength, but not elite. Lacks aggressiveness as a tackler on returns.

Solid 1.25-1.35 second get-off time. Long steps would put him too close to the line of scrimmage if he used full three-step drop.

Solid hangtime -- 4.2-4.4 seconds on 45-50 yard punts -- but will have the occasional line drive. Had 3.5-second hangtime on punts placed inside the 20 and throttles down to prevent touchbacks. Gross average benefitted from big rolls when punt returners don't catch the ball because of the left-footed spin. Uses rugby kicks and can wobble his punts to avoid top returners. Directional punting ability is a question mark.

Career Notes

Four-year letterman and starter at punter … four-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference (2006-07-08-09) … 2009 CoSIDA Academic All-America first team … 2009 Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America second team … two-time All-Big Ten first team selection by the coaches and media (2008-09) … became the first special teams player in school history elected team captain … 2007 Derek Howard Award winner as Michigan's top hustler … appeared in 50 career games … had 243 career punts for 10,325 yards … holds U-M career record for punts and punting yardage … his 42.5-yard career average ranks second in school history … became the first Wolverine player to surpass 10,000 career punt yards vs. Penn State (Oct. 24, 2009) … became the only U-M player to punt for more than 3,000 yards during 2008 season … holds program-standard for most punts (80) and punting yards (3,436) in a season … 76 punts have been downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line … has 58 punts of 50 yards or better … booted a 68-yard career long vs. Ohio State (Nov. 17, 2007).



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