The title says it all and even with a good argument most draftniks and experts will say that drafting a punter or a kicker in the NFL draft is like drafting a kicker in the middle rounds of your fantasy draft. And it does make some sense to not draft someone when only a select few teams are so bad off that they need to draft one. Great punters and kickers also do not come around that often so there often aren't too many guys that are even picked up to start.

But when it comes down to it the kicker is arguably the third most important player for scoring points on a team. A field goal is worth half of the points that a touchdown will get you, and a blown extra point can kill a team. Think about how many games are won and lost because of a kicker. The best kickers get little respect while the worst kickers (think about Boise State) get all of the hate.

The punter is an extension of the defense that also gets little respect. Think of how much it motivates a defense when a punter nails a perfect coffin-corner punt or nails one that stops on the 2 yard line. Think about how nice it is when your punter hits a 55-yard bomb that cleans the slate of a bad offensive series. But think about how bad a shanked punt is for a team, especially if it leaves the opposing team in field goal range to start the drive. When it comes down to it the punter is an elite team player that needs to be great.

If you don't believe me you should look at the numbers from the last five years.

As you will see from the data, teams that draft a punter or a kicker in the draft do significantly have better teams the next season. In fact in the last five drafts there have been a total of 23 kickers and punters that were drafted, and 18 of the teams had a better record the next season. And given the data teams actually improved by over three wins the next year.

Of course this data is a little misleading because of a few factors. Some of the punters and kickers that were drafted never became stars and never became long term options for these teams. Some of these teams had better years because of the talent they drafted around them as well as the talent that had been added through free agency. But if you look at hard data and the fact that great teams often have great kickers you will see that it is ok to draft a foot-guy.

I'm not condoning a team that really needs help throughout the team (think about the Buffalo Bills) to draft a kicker or punter early, but I do believe that a late pick should definitely be used on them. A 6th or 7th round player rarely pans out anyways so why not get a player that can possibly contribute to a team in a significant way.