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Draft crop lacks kickers

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The following is the final installment previewing the 2003 NFL draft class. Today, we feature kickers and punters.

The Jaguars clearly have an unsettled placekicking situation, but it's unlikely this year's draft class can offer much in the way of a solution.

Tulane's Seth Marler and Cincinnati's Jonathan Ruffin may be the only two kickers who carry a draftable grade, and neither one of those two kickers offers potential as a kickoff guy.

A weak crop of kickers will probably send the Jaguars into the list of available veteran kickers. Meanwhile, the class of punters is a little more impressive, but the Jaguars already have one of the NFL's best punters in Chris Hanson.

Marler, 6-1, 195, is very accurate. He turned in an impressive performance at the scouting combine, but his kickoffs lack hang time and distance. Marler also has shown a tendency to line-drive his long field goal attempts. Last season, he was 18 of 28 in field goal attempts, with a long of 51 yards.

Ruffin, 5-10, 178, is fundamentally sound and temperamentally perfect for the position, but he lacks NFL-caliber leg strength. From 42 yards and in, count it; much beyond that distance, don't even try. He was 17 of 20 in field goal attempts last season.

Kickers likely to sign as undrafted free agents are Alex Walls of Tennessee, Asen Asparuhov of Fresno State and Todd Sievers of Miami.

The class of punters is headed by Eddie Johnson of Idaho State. Hawaii's Mat McBriar, Maryland's Brooks Barnard and Colorado's Mark Mariscal may also carry draftable grades.

Johnson, 6-3, 232, is athletic and offers toughness at the position. He has a powerful leg, but he kicked indoors at a favorable altitude. Averaged 46.2 yards per punt last season.

McBriar, 6-0, 195, has a thunderous leg but lacks the technique and sophistication to step right into the NFL. He's slow in getting his punts off, is very inconsistent and offers little in the way of placement. If he perseveres, he could stick with a team one day and become a big-time punter.

Barnard, 6-2, 195, is the opposite of McBriar. Barnard's game is finesse, not power. His punts lack hang time.

Mariscal, 6-1, 201, is especially interesting because he offers kickoff potential. He has a strong leg and drives the ball when necessary, but his boots also lack hang time and his distance was enhanced by altitude. He may have a future, but he also needs to take the long route into the league.

Punters who may have an opportunity to sign as undrafted free agents include Damon Duval of Auburn, Andy Groom of Ohio State and Glenn Pakulak of Kentucky.

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