Following practice and the announcement of the roster trim down during Tuesday’s press conference, New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton mentioned that the battle at the kicker position is still being evaluated. It seems as if the final decision will be based on performance during Thursday’s preseason contest against the Baltimore Ravens.
Due to his experience, Shayne Graham is still likely the favorite. Since signing with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2010 (practice squad), the 15-year veteran bounced around numerous organizations before eventually making his way back over to the Big Easy in 2013 following the release of Garrett Hartley. Graham ranks fifth all-time in the NFL in field goal accuracy, drilling 85.5% of his kicks.
The 24-year-old Derek Dimke made a deal to a futures contract with the Black and Gold in January. The most accurate kicker in University of Illinois history signed with the Detroit Lions as a practice squad member in 2012, but was released shortly after. In 2013, he practiced with the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but just couldn’t make the final cut. However, veterans like Jason Hanson, Nick Folk and Rian Lindell made coming out on top a tough task.
After watching the press conference, the Saints’ head coach made it sound like both Dimke and Graham have an equal shot at making the 53-man roster. Young is good, but so is proven and reliable. Payton believes they’ll both be kicking in 2014, but only one will be for New Orleans. Their biggest evaluation period begins Thursday, Aug. 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.