Bears Select Punter Tory Taylor at No. 122

The Chicago Bears have drafted punter Tory Taylor of Iowa with the 122nd pick of the 2024 NFL Draft. Taylor had the most punts in the 2023 FBS and set the record for most punting yards in one season with 4,479 yards. That bested John Fingel, who had held the record for 85 years.

My Take: The Bears need help on the offensive and defensive interior lines, but GM Ryan Poles elected to draft a punter for the second time in three years. I suppose that means Chicago intends to move on from Trenton Gill while resetting that rookie contract. That’s a joke, at least the second half of that sentence. Poles will catch a whole lot of shrapnel for this pick.

Gill was dead last in average net yards last season.

No punter was allowed to ply his craft more in recent years than Taylor thanks to Iowa’s struggling offense. He has impressive leg power and his hang time is fairly solid when his rugby-style punts are removed from the evaluation process. He needs work on his directional punting but did carry a middle-round grade coming into this draft.

Taylor’s selection proves just how weak this draft is after the first 70-80 picks. The Bears have completed their draft unless they trade back in during rounds 5-7. They’ll leave Detroit with recruits Caleb Williams, Rome Odunze, and Kiran Amegadjie.

Strengths (per

  • Highly decorated All-American punter and FBS record-holder with 4,479 punt yards.
  • Outstanding size with hand-eye coordination to rescue off-frame snaps as punter/holder.
  • Planted nearly half of his 162 punts inside the 20-yard line from 2021 to 2022.
  • Displayed power to dig his unit out from deep in its own side of the field.

Weaknesses (per

  • Slower approach pace, contributing to three career blocked punts (per PFF).
  • Fails to squarely hit punts more often than expected.

Fun Fact

This kid is a highly decorated punter, but the Bears still have hole son both sides of their roster.

Here’s what the ESPN analysts said about Taylor:

  • “Taylor broke the 85-year-old NCAA single-season record for punting yards with a 67-yard punt in Iowa’s bowl game. He had the most punts in the FBS in 2023 and still ranked fourth in average yards per punt, so he has the leg strength to drive the ball and handle a heavy workload.” – Steve Muench
  • NFL Comp: Mitch Wishnowsky
  • ESPN Rank: 281
  • ESPN Grade: 38
  • Last Year’s No. 122 Pick: Jon Gaines II
  • Highest Punter Drafted in 2023: Bryce Baringer (No. 192)
  • Money Quote: “What frustrates me is we’re the ones putting in the work. We want to win more than the other people. We’re the ones who started this back in January. We’re not the ones sitting at home drinking a beer and eating a hot dog on the couch, like most of them. We want to win more than anyone else.”
  • Money for Nothing and Your… New Bear QB Caleb Williams reportedly texted Taylor right after he was drafted and told him that he “wasn’t going to be punting too much.”

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