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Development year-to-year, excellence when punting in cold-weather games and an impressive preseason all helped lead the Green Bay Packers to complete a trade for punter Corey Bojorquez, who the team feels will provide an immediate upgrade at one of the specialist positions in 2021.
The Packers swapped late-round picks in the 2023 draft to get Bojorquez from the Rams on Tuesday.
“We had a chance to get better there,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “Roster building is 365 days a year, and we’re always looking for a chance to get better. Corey had a fantastic year in Buffalo last year, and just watching him this preseason, we thought this was a chance to get better.”
Bojorquez will take over for JK Scott, a 2018 draft pick who was released on Tuesday. While talented, Scott never developed any level of consistency, a damning reality highlighted by a 21-yard punt during the preseason. Last season, Scott ranked 22nd in the NFL among punters in punting average and 34th in net punting average.
Throughout the preseason, the Packers monitored the punting situation in Los Angeles, knowing Bojorquez and veteran Johnny Hekker were competing for one job.
Gutekunst said Bojorquez really took a developmental step between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Last year in Buffalo, he led the NFL in average punting yards (50.8) and was fifth in net punting average (44.0), and the Packers were impressed with the way he punted the ball outdoors late in the season.
“From 19 to 20 he really improved and he had a fantastic year last year in Buffalo,” Gutekunst said. “He did some really good things in some cold-weather opportunities late in the year. When he went to LA, obviously, with their punter that’s been out there for a long time, we had our eye on that battle. We’re excited to get him. We know what he’s done in the past. He had a really nice preseason. We’re excited to get him up to speed with Lambeau and kicking in this stadium.”
Bojorquez’s experience punting in cold weather and his ability to remain effective while punting outside in the elements were both attractive to the Packers. He kicked outdoors in seven straight games for the Bills to end last year and had a net average of 43.0 yards or more in six games. The Packers also liked his performance over three games this summer.
This preseason, Bojorquez averaged an NFL-best 51.9 net yards per punt, with a long of 70 yards and an NFL-best average hangtime of 4.81 seconds. He also put four punts inside the 20-yard line.
Scott was inconsistent again during the preseason, leading to the change.
The Packers decided to swing the trade because the team was 30th on the waiver claim priority list. And the cost to complete the trade – to ensure getting the player – was a small one.
“Flopping picks in 23 there, that wasn’t much to give up for someone we really wanted to bring into the squad,” Gutekunst said.