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NFL Draft

Why Blake Haubeil Can Make Titans Roster As UDFA

  • The Draft Network
  • July 29, 2021
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In three seasons under head coach Mike Vrabel, the Tennessee Titans have gotten plenty of things right en route to three consecutive winning seasons to start his tenure, an AFC Championship Game appearance in 2019, and an AFC South title in 2020. But for all the success, the Titans have been unable to get their kicking situation stabilized.

In 2019, Tennessee was dead last in the NFL in field goal percentage when the Titans kickers connected on just 44.4% of their attempts for the season. Things improved in 2020 where the percentage increased to 71.4%, but that growth still landed the Titans at 31st in the league. Tennessee has had six different kickers attempt a field goal over the last two seasons.

Despite all the issues in the kicking game, Tennessee enters 2021 with a kicking competition that features just Tucker McCann and Blake Haubeil. Neither has attempted a field goal in the NFL. 

An undrafted free agent out of Missouri in 2020, McCann spent his first season in the NFL on the Titans’ practice squad. He connected on 64-of-84 field goals (72.62 percent) during his time at Missouri with a long of 57 yards. As a senior in 2019, he even handled the punting duties, which gives him additional value due to the versatility he offers in a pinch. 

While McCann’s time on the Tennessee practice squad gives him an advantage in the kicking competition, Haubeil is my favorite to win the job.

An undrafted rookie free agent out of Ohio State, Haubeil connected on 28-of-35 attempts (80%) for the Buckeyes with a career-long of 55 yards, which is the second-longest field goal made in Ohio State history. Haubeil was perfect on all 146 of his extra-point attempts in college. 

For a Titans team that is expected to contend in the AFC, Haubeil’s experience and consistency in making kicks in big games is significant. He hit all three of his field goals in the College Football Playoff semifinal game in the Fiesta Bowl against Clemson and was 8-for-9 for his career in postseason games. 

An underrated layer in the kicking competition is the role of the holder. The kicker's chemistry with the holder is critical for consistency. The Titans’ are fortunate to have Brett Kern, who is among the elite punters in the NFL, handling the holder duties. Both Kern and Haubeil are natives of Western New York with Kern from Grand Island and Haubeil from Buffalo. That dynamic could help the two form a connection which will only help in establishing the timing and rhythm in the field goal operation. Additionally, Vrabel’s connections with Ohio State could give Haubeil an advantage. 

It comes as a surprise that for all the troubles Tennessee has had in the kicking game that, as things currently stand, the competition is between two recent undrafted free agents with no NFL experience. With that said, my money is on Haubeil to win the job due to him having a better college career that featured opportunity and consistency in big games and leaning on the potential of his relationship with Kern as the holder to make the difference.

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