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NFL Draft 2018: Matthew McCrane

McCrane is among the best kickers on this year’s draft board

NCAA Football: East-West Shrine Game Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Player

Matthew McCrane, K | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 165 lb

Cast your collective memories back to the evening of January 1, 2015. Kansas State was in a down-to-the-wire dogfight (involving cats, and bears, and no dogs, oh my) with UCLA at the Alamo Bowl. With less than a minute to go, the Wildcats had closed to within a score. It was, of course, onside kick time.

Kansas State lined up in the predicted formation, and everyone knew what was coming. And then this happened:

Rabona kicks are relatively common in soccer, but they’re so rare in college football that Matthew McCrane became something of an instant bowl game celebrity afterwards.

The moment capped a breakout freshman season for McCrane who had taken over kicking duties mid-season and ultimately ended the 2014 campaign at 18-of-19 on field goal tries, a nation-leading 94.7% field goal percentage. He also hit on 41 of 42 extra point attempts, and scored 94 points, shattering the previous Kansas State freshman record of 50 set by one Martin Gramatica. For his efforts, McCrane was named to the Freshman All-America team by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and also took home All-Big 12 honorable mention.

An injury-shortened 2015 season saw McCrane go a perfect seven-of-seven on field goals, and he connected on all three field goals against Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl, breaking his own school record for FGs in a single game in the process. The 2016 season saw more of the same from McCrane who only kicked in eight games, but still managed to go 11-of-14 on field goals and a perfect 29-of-29 on PATs.

In 2017, his senior season, McCrane was 21-of-26 on field goals and was perfect on 48 extra point tries. He hit a career long 54-yarder against Texas, which was one of three field goals longer than 50 yards for him and tied the school record. McCrane, now Kansas State’s all-time leader in field goals, was also a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2017, and the first Wildcat kicker to earn all-conference honors three times in his career.

Off the field, McCrane graduated with a marketing degree in 2016 and will be finishing up his MBA at Kansas State in May. Among the many things he learned at Kansas State was apparently how to write slanted notes in marker!

The Draft Outlook

McCrane is widely regarded as one of the top kickers in the draft, and although this isn’t particularly relevant for place kickers, he also ran the second fastest 40 times among all kickers in the draft.

While McCrane kicked a number of long field goals at Kansas State, and has generally been a picture of accuracy throughout his college career, he also missed three times from beyond the 50, and once from beyond the 40 in 2017, so NFL teams may be concerned about his leg strength.

Because NFL teams generally don’t draft kickers in the early rounds, McCrane is unlikely to hear his name called before the sixth or seventh rounds, and he may well be an undrafted free agent in the end. Although he wasn’t at the NFL Combine this year, McCrane played in the East-West Shrine Game, and he’s already worked out with several pro teams, including the New Orleans Saints, the New England Patriots, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Miami Dolphins.

Good luck to McCrane as he pursues his NFL dreams!

The 2018 NFL Draft will be held from April 26 to 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Live television coverage begins at 7 PM CDT on April 26.