The Los Angeles Chargers must have a scout living at College Station specifically to watch the Texas A&M kicking game.
In recent years, the Chargers have had Josh Lambo at placekicker and Drew Kaser at punter, both former Aggies. But this offseason, the team brought in Shane Tripucka, another former Texas A&M punter, as an undrafted rookie.
In college, Tripucka averaged 44.3 yards per punt, kicking the ball 154 times in the 27 games he played at the school. When looking at the college stats posted by Kaser, he played in 38 games and punted the ball 168 times for a 46.2 yard average.
Kaser was also drafted and has been the team’s punter the past two seasons. In other words, Tripucka will find it difficult to beat him out for the job.
The most interesting note about Tripucka is the family he comes from. His grandfather is former Denver Broncos quarterback Frank Tripucka, a man who is one of just three players to ever have his jersey retired by the Broncos. His uncle is former NBA player Kelly Tripucka, a former first-round selection of the Detroit Pistons who played for three teams and averaged 17.2 points per game across his 11-year career.
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So Tripucka definitely has the bloodlines, but in college, he didn’t display the strongest leg you’ve ever seen.
For his career, Kaser has averaged 47.3 yards per punt including a net average of 40.7 yards. He’s placed 33.8 percent of his punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. In addition, opponents have only averaged 4.5 yards per return on his punts, a solid number.
Are those incredible statistics? Not necessarily. But they’re good enough to get the job done and it’s highly questionable as to whether or not Tripucka can do any better.
Just as you’ve heard of the term “camp arm”, there’s also such thing as a “camp leg”. That’s where I see Tripucka falling this summer.
Kaser isn’t the best punter in the league, but the team could do much worse as he’s performed when his number has been called. Last season, Kaser ranked third in the league with a 48.1 yard average and fourth in the league in net average.
In other words, he’s a pretty solid option and Tripucka is a guy who is likely auditioning for other teams, at best.