With the entire “Faithful” world watching, and likely waiting for an offensive tackle selection late in the third round, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch threw everyone a curveball in the 2023 NFL Draft. With pick number 99 overall in the third round, the 49ers selected Michigan kicker Jake Moody.
While the pick was surprising, this was not the first time Lynch has made a pick that was considered “somewhere out in left field.” The selection is reminiscent of the 49ers’ grab of punter Mitch Wishnowsky. He was taken very early in the 2018 NFL Draft as a fourth-round pick.
However, it has to be said that if the Moody pick pans out as well as the Wishnowsky pick has, then the 49ers will be in business for a very long time on special teams.
Shortly after the pick was announced, Draft expert, Rich Eisen stamped the selection with his personal seal of approval. He referred to Moody as “the greatest kicker the Michigan Wolverines have ever had.” He capped it off by saying, “Moody can split the uprights like no one I’ve ever seen.
Although picking a kicker in the early rounds isn’t exactly a trend, the selection is warranted by many fans and football lovers alike.
In fact, judging by the Twitter reacts, Moody might be among those shocked by the selection. He went on record, prior to the draft, by saying that he wasn’t sure if he would be drafted at all. Boy was he wrong.
The former Michigan product is a two-time Bakken-Anderson kicker of the year (2021-22), won the Lou Groza award for the nation’s top kicker in 2021 and boasts a career-best 59 yard field goal to his credit. That absolute dinger was good enough for a CFP record for longest field goal made.
Drafting Moody sends a very clear message to All-Pro kicker Robbie Gould that they are moving on without him.
Moody will battle it out, in training camp, with newly acquired former Carolina Panthers specialist Zane Gonzalez. However, one would have to think that Moody is the odds-on favorite to start, solely based on him being drafted so early with other, obvious glaring needs.
Moody becomes only the second kicker in 17 years to be selected in the first 100 picks of the NFL Draft. That stat right there might be more of a wow factor than the third round selection itself.
In a world full of draft day uncertainties, one thing’s for sure, when the 49ers see something they like, they go right for it.