To determine who the NFL's best kicker was during the 2012 season, our team of experienced scouts looked largely at production, rather than mechanics or traits. This is the same method used by NFL front offices when scouting college and NFL kickers. If it works for them, it works for us.
It is a departure from how we handle most positions in this second edition of the B/R NFL 1,000. Our other rankings, except for punters, judge players based on our study of their skills on film, not their numbers on a page.
Kickers were scored for a maximum 100 points based on an equal split between kicking accuracy and power. Field goals were broken down into tiers—under 30 yards, 31-39 yards, 40-49 yards and 50-plus yards. We then calculated percentages for each kicker in these tiers.
It is important to note that we didn't penalize kickers if they missed attempts from an impossible range. We call this the "Greg Zuerlein rule": penalizing a kicker for a missed 63-yard attempt seems silly. That means a player with a lower field-goal percentage won't necessarily have a lower "accuracy" score than a player with a higher percentage.
In the case of ties, I have asked myself, "Which player would I rather have on my team?" and set the rankings accordingly. Subjective? Yes. But ties are no fun.