Arguably one of the least talked about positions in football is the offensive line.
The absolute least talked about position in football is punter.
And amazingly, that’s the position where the Packers made a huge splash. JK Scott, the unceremonious fifth round pick in 2018, was a top five punter in 2019 and 2020. The 25-year-old even had the best average hang time last year at 4.57 seconds. Many people even nicknamed Scott “The Weapon” for his ability to flip the field and help the defense out immediately.
But along the way, he had plenty of hiccups. His probability for shanking a punt increased and his net punting average saw his lowest number of his career. What’s worse, his precision also got worse as Scott only had 15 punts inside the 20 last year, the worst of his career, and the bottom half of all punters. He also had nine balls sail out of bounds.
When you have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, the last thing you think about is addressing the punting position, but the Packers sent a sixth rounder to the Rams in exchange for Corey Bojorquez and a seventh rounder. It’s not just that the Packers made a trade for a punter, it’s that the Packers made a trade for a punter on Sept. 4 — eight days before Green Bay’s season opener with the Saints.
“We’re always looking for a chance to get better,” Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said. “And obviously Corey had a fantastic year in Buffalo last year. Just watching him this preseason, we thought this was a chance to get better.”
In Buffalo, not exactly the most ideal place to punt, Bojorquez saw a net average of 44.0, which was fifth in the league last year.
The Packers know how important this year is, especially with the bitter taste of a home NFC title game loss still lingering from last year. The last thing they want is a punter that stands between them and a Super Bowl.
At the dawn of a new year, we always extrapolate about bloated expectations. But this year is a little different. Thanks to the bumpy offseason this past spring, we don’t know how this offseason will play out, so this team might as well win the whole damn thing.
Now the last thing that I thought that would be the final chef’s kiss would be a punter. But Bojorquez learned and got better from four-time All-Pro Johnny Hecker in LA and really understands how important and magnified each punt will be this season.
The Packers didn’t just get better, though. By making this trade, Gutekunst is also admitting he made a mistake. The 2018 draft class is good because it netted one of the best corners in Jaire Alexander and a solid No. 2 wideout in Marquez Valdes-Scantling. However, it also produced flops like Josh Jackson, Oren Burks, J’Mon Moore and Scott.
This move wasn’t just about adding a punter. It was about reinforcing what Gutekunst said when he was hired about the status quo.
Trading for a punter seems like an exercise in the mundane, but it’s actually a signal to everyone else that you have to produce.
Remember, accountability doesn’t have to be thought of as a negative. The Packers got better by this trade but it also made the entire organization stronger.
Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on “Clubhouse Live” and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn