Bills select the ‘Punt God’ in sixth round of NFL draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Punt God is finally off the board.
The Buffalo Bills kicked off the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday by selecting San Diego State punter Matt Araiza 180th overall.
Why is Araiza known as the Punt God? Well, the 21-year-old had a record-breaking junior campaign in 2021 with an average of 51.19 yards per punt, the highest mark in NCAA history. Araiza punted the ball 79 times for 4,044 yards en route to winning the Ray Guy Award for the nation’s best punter.
He had 39 punts of at least 50 yards (an NCAA record), 18 of at least 60 yards (an NCAA record), six of at least 70 yards and two of at least 80 yards. His 86-yard bomb against San Jose State was the longest punt in the nation last season.
What makes Araiza’s 2021 performance even more impressive is that it was his first season as the Aztecs’ full-time punter. Other than five punts as a sophomore, Araiza was just a kicker during his first two seasons in college. For his career, he was 50-for-68 on field goals and 96-for-97 on extra points.
Despite all of that, he surprisingly wasn’t the first or second player at his position drafted this year. Penn State’s Jordan Stout (No. 130 to the Baltimore Ravens) and Georgia’s Jake Camarda (No. 133 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) were both taken ahead of Araiza in the fourth round.
Buffalo’s Matt Haack posted one of the lowest yards per punt averages in the NFL last season at 42.9. So the Bills should get a boost in that department from the Punt God himself.