The Kansas City Chiefs added six draft picks in the 2020 NFL draft and a number of undrafted free agents too. Several of those rookies made contributions during the course of the 2020 regular season and postseason. This draft was balanced on offense and defense in the same way that the 2019 NFL draft was for Kansas City. The team even managed to land some special teams help.
Let’s take a look at Tommy Townsend’s rookie season and see what we can project for the future.
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AP Photo/Nick Wass
Townsend had some big shoes to fill, coming in to play with the Chiefs following 15-year veteran punter Dustin Colquitt. For the most part, he managed to meet that challenge. From a statistical standpoint, Townsend finished the year right around the league average among punters with 50 or more punts on the season.
Townsend didn’t have a single punt blocked and he did a nice job of pinning teams within the 20-yard-line. He earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors back in Week 15. He also had one of the most memorable plays of the season with his fake-punt-pass to Byron Pringle against the New York Jets in Week 8. Even as a holder, he was praised by veteran kicker Harrison Butker, who had some problems of his own this season.
That’s not to say Townsend was without struggles as a rookie. Unfortunately, he ended the year on a bitter note, putting up his worst career performance in Super Bowl LV. He shanked two punts off the side of his foot, setting up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with excellent field position. He also had a dropped snap which he managed to recover and punt away. It was pretty clear that the Super Bowl stage had him feeling some nerves.
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Dave Toub likely won’t be happy with the way the season ended for his rookie punter, but overall this was about as seamless a transition as you could hope for. He didn’t allow any explosive plays or punt returns for touchdowns and flipped field position on a regular basis. All of the issues were seemingly minor in occurrence and easily corrected.
In the past, even with a veteran like Dustin Colquitt, we’ve seen the Chiefs bring in some offseason competition at the punter position. They’ll likely do the same with Townsend in order to push him to get better and more consistent. With some luck, Townsend will have learned from the experiences in his rookie year and come back motivated to be even better in the 2021 season.
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We’ll debut our rookie season reviews over the next several weeks, with the exception of Lucas Niang given the opt out. Check back here for hyperlinks when they’re available.
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