The Buffalo Bills drafted Matt Araiza in the sixth round this offseason to compete with Matt Haack for the starting punter position. The former San Diego State University punter showed off incredible leg strength in college and earned the nickname ‘Punt God.’
Last year at the college level, Araiza had a couple of punts that traveled more than 80 yards and had an average of 51.2 yards per punt on 79 punt attempts.
On the very first punt Araiza had in the NFL he showed off that leg strength with an incredible 82-yard punt. The Bills were pinned deep in their end of the field in the closing minutes of the first half and Araiza was able to switch field position with his punt.
Araiza started his punt around the six-yard line and it traveled almost the entire length of the field before landing around the 12 and rolled into the end zone.
Matt Araiza could have a major impact on the field position battle for the Buffalo Bills
While the Buffalo Bills didn’t punt often last year, in fact, they were tied for the fourth-fewest amount of punts in the NFL last year, when they do a player like Araiza can have a big impact over the course of the game. The leg strength he showed on that punt helped the Bills switch field position, limit what the Colts could do when they were on offense, and kept them out of scoring range.
Over the course of the game, a punter like Araiza can keep the opposing team pinned deep and force them into longer drives to get into scoring range.
The position battle between Matt Haack and Matt Araiza may not be over yet but there is no question that the rookie has made quite an impact already. He could have put himself ahead of the veteran and it is now his job to lose.