Can kickers be graded on numbers alone, or do you have to really dig in and scout each player?
If the NFL is to ever adopt a "Moneyball"-like scouting method, kickers could be scouted from a purely numerical formula—which is why we're using an awesome statistic for kickers in this series. Cold Hard Football Facts introduced it back in 2006 and we're calling it the Carlson Rating, after the site contributor who devised it, Mike Carlson.
The Carlson Rating gives kickers more credit for long conversions and penalizes them more for short misses, breaking down attempts into those less than 40 yards, those from 40 to 50 yards and those over 50 yards. We've applied the formula to 2011 kicks as part of our scores for these rankings.
B/R 1,000 rankings don't assess who had the best year or even who has the most potential. Rather, players—in this case, kickers—are judged on their current skills and mechanics, based on study of the 2011 NFL season only.
The top 32 kickers have been scored in five criteria, including the Carlson Rating (Carlson's name for the stat is a bit more crude). In the slides that follow, we'll explain each player's strengths and weaknesses as the final ranking is revealed.
Special thanks to ProFootballFocus.com for providing kicking statistics.