Should the LA Chargers draft punter Matt Araiza in the 2022 NFL Draft?
By Jason Reed
Reasons against the LA Chargers drafting Matt Araiza:
1. Some team might spend an earlier pick on him
Matt Araiza is so good that we could very well see another team convincing itself of spending early draft capital on him in the 2022 NFL Draft. As good as he is, the Chargers really should not be spending anything earlier than a day three selection on him.
It is not unprecedented at all for teams to use day two picks on a punter. Bryan Anger was selected in the third round in 2012 and Dustin Colquitt was selected in the third round in 2005. If Araiza really is the best punter we have seen in the draft in quite some time then there very well could be a team that talks itself into using a third-round pick on him.
Even if he makes it past the third round, I still don't think the Bolts should spend a fourth-round pick on Araiza. Personally, for me, the fifth round if the cut-off.
2. Ty Long is just fine in his role and maintains the consistency
It is not like Ty Long is a bad punter and while he is a restricted free agent, the Chargers can re-sign him for a cheap punter salary. There is something to be said about staying consistent on special teams and not giving up on potential leaders if you have them.
Long really does seem like a great leader to that group and you cannot totally fault the Chargers if they just want to keep him around and focus on other areas of special teams. However, it should be said that Araiza would help take some of the pressure off of those lacking areas on the punt unit.
So should the LA Chargers draft Matt Araiza?
if I am the LA Chargers this would be my approach: re-sign Ty Long to a one-year deal in free agency. If the team does not sign him before the draft it is going to be pretty clear what they are trying to do.
Keep Araiza completely off the board until the fifth round. Do not even think about him in the fourth round if he is there. The roster has other needs and spending a fourth-round pick on a punter with how the team is built would be a mistake.
Then, when the fifth-round rolls around, evaluate who is left on the board (assuming Araiza is there). If there is a prospect that the team legitimately likes in the fifth round then they should take him no matter what. However, if it is a toss-up between Araiza and someone else, just take Araiza. If the team is not that confident in the other player then they probably won't amount to much.
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If he is there for the team's first pick in the sixth round (highly unlikely) then just take him without thinking about it.