Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dolphins to hold 'pretty good kicker competition'


The Miami Dolphins spent most of the third and final day of the 2013 NFL Draft filling in some depth around their roster.

But they also decided to bring in some competition for a tenured special-teamer. (photo: arctic_whirlwind, Flickr)

With their 166th overall selection in the fifth round, the Dolphins picked University of Florida placekicker Caleb Sturgis, putting current kicker Dan Carpenter's future in serious jeopardy.

But, as is standard operating procedure, both players will enter training camp with an opportunity - formality or not - to compete for the position.

"We're not going to give away the job to Caleb or to Dan," Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who was a collegiate kicker himself, said in a post-draft press conference. "There's going to be a pretty good competition in camp, and we look forward to that."

Carpenter struggled in clutch situations in 2012, missing key field goals in close games early in the season. Most notably, the one-time Pro Bowler missed a crucial late-game and a would-be game-winning kick in overtime in Week 3 against the New York Jets.

When elaborating on his decision to draft Sturgis, Ireland may have hinted at this motivation for drafting a a kicker as early as he did.

"He's very accurate, he's kicked a lot of field goals in tight situations," Ireland said. "He has the consistency and the make-up for pressure situations."

After last season, there already was some suspicion that Carpenter's five-year stint in Miami could be nearing an end. Picking a kicker with a fifth-round draft pick may have punctuated the writing on the wall.

Miami was Gator-happy Saturday beyond Sturgis, as Miami drafted linebacker Jelani Jenkins in the fourth round and running back Mike Gillislee in the fifth.

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