Greg Zuerlein making Rams’ draft gamble pay off
They call him “Greg the Leg.” We might need to come up with a more descriptive nickname, like “Greg the Incredible” or “Greg the Man With a Laser-Guided Missile Launcher Where His Right Foot Should Be.”
Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein, an under-the-radar sixth-round draft pick in April, has started his rookie season in sensational fashion, hitting all 12 of his field goal attempts. He grew his legend on Sunday, going 4-for-4 on field goals, with makes from 24, 48, 58 and a Rams-record 60 yards out. In fact, the 58-yard mark from Zuerlein in the first quarter broke the previous franchise record of 57 set by Jeff Wilkins in 1998; Zuerlein then rewrote the record books again with his 60-yarder in the third quarter. [si_launchNFLPopup video='7586224ac0b2476d82eb4376dfc699df']Click here to watch Zuerlein’s record-setting kicks[/si_launchNFLPopup].
St. Louis has struggled to score touchdowns over the season’s first four weeks, but Zuerlein has made it so seemingly every drive has the Rams in scoring territory. On the season, he’s 3 of 3 from beyond 50 yards, and 8 of 8 from beyond 40.
In fact, St. Louis did not even muster an offensive touchdown in its 19-13 win over Seattle on Sunday. The Rams’ only score outside of Zuerlein’s four kicks came on a fake field goal — with Zuerlein lined up for a 19-yard attempt, holder Johnny Hekker threw a pass to a wide-open Danny Amendola, who snuck onto the field just before the snap.
Zuerlein hit all nine of his field goal tries from 50-plus yards last season at Missouri Western and, at one point, had a Division-II record 21 consecutive makes.
After taking Zuerlein in the 2012 draft, new Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said “I don’t believe I have” drafted a kicker before. But he added: “We felt like this was going to be a need. We need to upgrade the position and we couldn’t pass on this opportunity.”
So far, Zuerlein is paying off that gamble in a big way.