With veterans on the market, including a 47-year old Adam Vinatieri that wants back, the Indianapolis Colts have shown confidence in Chase McLaughlin.
The 23-year old kicker will have some competition.
With the signing of Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship, there will be least one other kicker.
Blakenship was among 10 undrafted free agents signed by the Colts.
However, Blakenship is no ordinary kicker.
The Case For “Hot Rod”
Blankenship was the best kicker in the NCAA last season.
In 2019, he was awarded the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the nation’s best kicker.
He finished the season making 27-0f-33 field goals and all 46 extra points.
In his career, he made 80-of-97 field goals and was perfect on all 200 extra-point attempts.
— Desmond Watkins (@TheDesWatkins) January 1, 2018
The Case For McLaughlin
McLaughlin spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers before the Colts picked him up on Week 14.
McLaughlin made 18 of 23 attempts last season, including a 50-yard field goal on Week 17.
Despite veterans available, the Colts seem content with moving forward with the youngster.
#Colts K Chase McLaughlin had a wild rookie season…finally landing in Indy to take over for Vinatieri.
• McLaughlin went 5-of-6 in FGA & perfect 11 made XPA.
— Olivia Ray (@OliviaRayWISH) December 30, 2019
Will There Be A Competition?
Any time a GM brings in a kicker, it’s to provide some sort of competition.
What is great about Blankenship is that he was one of the most accomplished kickers in SEC history.
Rodrigo Blankenship just became Georgia’s all-time leading scorer. (always one of the oddest football stats).
— Brandon Zimmerman (@BZSEC) November 23, 2019
In terms of McLaughlin’s future, he has great standing with the team.
At the end of the year press conference, GM Chris Ballard appeared to be content with McLaughlin holding down the fort.
Ballard described himself, “happy with Chase,” at the end of the year, and how he transitioned after replacing Vinatieri.
“You come in and you have to follow Adam Vinatieri, you’ve got a little something to you,” said Ballard, via Colts.com. “He’s got a really calm demeanor, he’s got a process that he goes through to kick. We like Chase.”
Chase McLaughlin stats vs. Sports Illustrated All-Americans shows how close he was to All-America status.
28-32 FG, 7-10 from 40+, 3-3 from 50+
25-29 FG, 9-12 from 40+, 3-5 from 50+
20-25 FG, 9-13 from 40+, 4-6 from 50+
— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) December 5, 2018
The Final Nod
The odds are heavily against Blankenship’s favor.
It will be interesting how long he stays on the team during training camp.
He might have hit some long field goals in college, but he also missed 17 others.
As of now, it looks like McLaughlin is the clear cut favorite for the job, especially after the Colts passed on multiple veterans in free agency.
Remember, Stephen Gostkowski is on the market and wouldn’t have cost anything.
Instead, the Colts signed an undrafted free agent.
See the difference?