Rarely does a college punter make himself a household name among football fans but that is exactly what Matt Araiza did this past season. The San Diego State punter showcased one of the biggest legs football fans have ever seen, maxing out at 86 yards for SDSU. After seeing years of special teams woes, some fans want to see the LA Chargers draft Araiza in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Chargers were one of several teams who had a private workout with Araiza, indicating that there is some kind of interest there. Ty Long has been relieved of his punting duties as the team signed former Green Bay Packers punter JK Scott this offseason.
While Araiza's tape from SDSU is undeniably electric and is easy to get excited about, it would not make sense in the slightest for the Bolts to take Araiza in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Chargers may have four compensatory picks in the draft but it would be a waste of assets to use a pick on Araiza.
Matt Araiza is not worth the draft pick for the LA Chargers.
It would be one thing if the Bolts did not already make an addition at the punter position with Scott. Sure, the team could have signed Scott as a contingency plan in case they did not land Araiza in the draft, but the timing of the signing and releasing Long indicates that there are bigger plans for Scott.
Plus, it just is not smart drafting to use a pick on a punter when Araiza is going to go relatively high (for his position). A kicker is one thing, a punter is another. There is a chance that Araiza goes in the fifth or sixth round, which is way too early for the Chargers to ever consider him.
If Araiza is still there during one of the Chargers' three compensatory picks in the seventh round then there is a conversation to be had. The problem is that he won't be there, as there will be one team that falls in love with the idea of his monster leg and uses an earlier day three pick on the punter.
Araiza may have had a cannon of a leg in college but he was not the most refined when it came to directional kicks, which play an even bigger role in the NFL than college. The Chargers are going to have one of the best offenses in the league and the goal is to not have to punt very often from inside their own 20. The added distance on those long situations is not worth what the team would sacrifice when it needs Araiza to pinpoint a punt, not bomb it.
It is great that a punter is getting as much attention as Araiza is but that does not mean the Chargers should draft him.