After a Sunday afternoon 21-18 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (1-1), the Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) released former seventh-round draft pick Zane Gonzalez. Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt blocked a potential game-winning 43-yard field goal by Gonzalez in an overtime season-opening tie versus the Browns. He then missed a go-ahead extra point and potential game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter of Sunday's three-point loss to the Saints. Gonzalez missed two extra points and two field goals in the Superdome.
The kicker that the Browns signed to replace the NCAA's all-time leader in field goals didn't leave college with the same resume', but his work in college was still impressive. Former FAU kicker Greg Joseph had a knack for forcing teams to drive the length of the field versus the Owls 34th-ranked scoring defense in 2017. Here's a quick snapshot of Joseph, our sixth-ranked kicker in the 2018 NFL Draft class.
Greg Joseph PK 6’1 214
DraftNasty's 2018 Grade: 4.05 (7th Round)
What makes this player Nasty....(Strengths): He’s a two-by-three-yard kicker who aligns right outside of the LT (left tackle). 2 ¼-step placekicker with ample leg strength. Kicked a 54-yard FG with at least six yards to spare vs. Navy in 2017 (3-step). Rarely punches at the ball. Keeps his shoulders parallel during his motion. Kicked the ball well in windy conditions vs. Western Kentucky in 2017. Hit two 40-yard field goals from both hash marks (2nd FG-RT hash, 48-yd FG inside left uprights; 3rd FG-left hash, 42-yd FG). Posted a 76-percent touchback rate on KOs in 2017. Capable of kicking balls in the 75-to-77-yard range with 4-second plus hang times (77 yards, 4.06, Tulsa ’15; 77 yards, 4.03, Tulsa ’15). Posted five touchbacks vs. North Texas in 2017 and three in the 74-to-77-yard range. He’s capable of kicking directionally to his right on kickoffs.
Weaknesses: Inconsistent in 2015. When he drags his first step (plant foot), he’ll push kicks to his right from the collegiate left hash (missed 40-yd FG, Tulsa ’15). Some of his kickoffs were held up in the wind vs. Western Kentucky in 2017 (4th KO-directional right, 60 yards, 4.03 hang). He also had his fifth kickoff get held up in the wind (vs. WKU ’17).
- Born in Johannesburg, South Africa
- Attended American Heritage-Delray HS (Fla.) and was a standout soccer and football star
- Earned All-State honors as a senior
- 2014: 14-of-20 FGs (Long-43), 5-of-7 (30-39 yards), 4-of-7 (40-49 yards), 34-of-35 XPs; 60 KOs, 23 TBs, 1 onside
- 2015: 18-of-27 FGs (Long-48), 2-of-4 (30-39 yds), 5-of-10 (40-49 yds), 0-of-1 (50-99 yds); 28-of-28 XPs; 62 KOs, 33 TBs, OOB (out of bounds)
- 2016 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 10-of-14 FGs, 3-of-5 (30-39 yds), 3-of-3 (40-49 yds), 1-of-2 (50-99 yds); 39-of-39 XPs; 54 KOs, 41 TBs
- 2017 (Honorable mention All-C-USA): 15-of-21 FGs (Long-54), 3-of-4 (30-39 yds), 4-of-7 (40-49 yds), 1-of-3 (50-99 yds), 64-of-68 XPs; 101 KOs, 77 TBs, OOB, 2 onside kicks
- Career Stats: 57-of-82 FGs (Long-54), 165-of-170 XPs
Time to get Nasty...(Our Summary): Joseph’s ability to drive kickoffs through the end zone could help him vie for a roster spot alone. He has been better in each of the last two seasons with accuracy but there are a number of pressure performances missing on his resume’. A four-year starter with upside, the Johannesburg native will need to monitor the location of his plant foot moving forward.
DraftNasty's projection: If there's a significant concern for the Browns, it is that Joseph -who hit on all three of his field goals for the Miami Dolphins in the 2018 preseason- simply didn't have an extreme amount of pressure-packed field goals at any time during his collegiate career. In addition, he missed seven kicks in the all-important 30-to-39-yard range during his time in school. This has relevance due to the NFL's 33-yard extra point attempts. After playing in the relatively weather-friendly environments of Boca Raton, Florida in college and then Miami, Florida this preseason, will he adapt to the ever-changing conditions off the lake in Cleveland, Ohio? This was somewhat of a concern for Gonzalez up until he handled it admirably as a rookie in 2017. We were able to see Joseph kick twice in person during his time in school and he impressed on both occasions. He handled a torrential downpour seamlessly versus Marshall in 2017 and even kicked a 31-yard field goal after three consecutive timeouts by Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday right before the end of the first half. Joseph posted six touchbacks on 14 kickoffs in the preseason and matched his collegiate career-long with a 54-yard field goal versus the Carolina Panthers in Week 2.