Take a look around the NFL and you will find Penn State has a bit of an impact on the special teams around the league. Robbie Gould has been the gold standard when it comes to place-kicking for two decades, Jordan Stout was a fourth-round draft pick a year ago and Blake Gillikin has been a solid punter and just resigned with the New Orleans Saints this offseason. Sam Ficken has been kicking around the league for a few years as well.
Hoping to continue this Penn State special teams flavor in the NFL is Jake Pinegar, who has decided to turn pro rather than return for a sixth year (allowed by the NCAA as a result of the 2020 COVID season) with the Nittany Lions.
Here is a look at Jake Pinegar with updated measurables following Penn State’s pro day.
AP Photo/Barry Reeger
Jake Pinegar had a bit of an up-and-down career at Penn State as he was a major contributor on special teams a freshman and then seeing his role reduced in favor of Jordan Stout, who went on to be a fourth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2022 NFL draft.
Pinegar returned to a more prominent role on special teams following the departure pf Stout, who was a one-man special teams ace for the Nittany Lions with his punting and place kicking, leaving few opportunities for Pinegar in 2021. Pinegar assumed the lead placekicking role in 2022 and converted 57 of his 59 PAT attempts, and 12 of 16 field goal attempts.
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Simply put, Pinegar is very unlikely to miss an extra point attempt, as his track record shows. With over 55 PAT attempts in three of the last four years, Pinegar has missed on just two attempts in each of those seasons. And Pinegar has been equally successful on short-range field goals when needed.
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Pinegar has had his struggles the farther out a kick is asked of him. While he has a few long-range field goals under his belt, the accuracy has tended to dip a bit more than an NFL team would like to see as the field goal try goes deeper and deeper.
Accuracy issues have been the biggest concern for Pinegar at times, which is part of the reason why Jordan Stout supplanted him in part of he kicking game in 2021.
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Jake Pinegar may have had a slightly similar path traveled by former Penn State kicker Sam Ficken. Ficken had his infamous struggles early on in his college career, but he proved to be very reliable on PATs and short-range field goal attempts once he overcame his early woes. But Ficken’s accuracy dipped on longer-range attempts, as tends to happen with many kickers.
But if Ficken could manage to find a spot in the NFL, then there is a chance for Pinegar to find a roster spot as well.
Where Pinegar sits among draft prospects
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Pinegar already faces a long shot of being drafted as kickers typically aren’t selected in abundance in the NFL draft process. And given how many kickers are in the draft pool that are considered better kicking prospects by NFL draft analysts, Pinegar will be slotted for an undrafted free agent offer after the draft closes.