'Punt God' Matt Araiza Selected by Bills in 6th Round of 2022 NFL Draft

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 30, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 5: Matt Araiza #PK01 of the San Diego State Aztecs speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 5, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Punt God has found a new home.

The Buffalo Bills selected San Diego State punter Matt Araiza with the first pick of the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft on Saturday. Araiza earned the affectionate nickname for his booming punts during his college career and became a fan favorite on social media.

It is no surprise Twitter liked the pick:

Buffalo Bills @BuffaloBills

𝐏𝐔𝐍𝐓 π†πŽπƒβ€ΌοΈ<br><br>Welcome to Buffalo, <a href="https://twitter.com/matt_araiza?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Matt_Araiza</a>! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BillsMafia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BillsMafia</a> <a href="https://t.co/ifbf6FjLa0">pic.twitter.com/ifbf6FjLa0</a>

Tom Fornelli @TomFornelli

Josh Allen and Matt Araiza having a competition to see if Allen can throw the ball further than Araiza can punt it.

Rachel Bonnetta @rachelbonnetta

LETS GOOOO PUNT GOD!!! Congrats <a href="https://twitter.com/matt_araiza?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@matt_araiza</a>

Adam Hoge @AdamHoge

Punt God with that Buffalo wind at his back… <a href="https://t.co/TDzChBfQtN">pic.twitter.com/TDzChBfQtN</a>

Jeremy Layton @JeremyLayt0n

Wow Bills mafia is going to LOVE Punt God<br><br>What a landing spot for him

Field Yates @FieldYates

Here’s new Bills P Matt Araiza with an 86-yard πŸ’£ πŸ’£ πŸ’£ <a href="https://t.co/v9rLgw3Grw">pic.twitter.com/v9rLgw3Grw</a>

Rodger Sherman @rodger

The Buffalo Bills are going to win the Super Bowl. <a href="https://t.co/xPPJvFRt0z">https://t.co/xPPJvFRt0z</a>

Adam Kramer @KegsnEggs


He seemed fairly pumped about the match as well:

Matt @matt_araiza

SOMEONE GET ME A TABLE!! <a href="https://t.co/mIr2tYt8LT">https://t.co/mIr2tYt8LT</a>

No punter received as much attention as the San Diego State product leading into the draft, but he was actually the third player taken at his position. The Baltimore Ravens selected Penn State's Jordan Stout with the No. 25 pick of the fourth round, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose Georgia's Jake Camarda three picks later.

Yet it was Araiza who was a consensus All-American and the Ray Guy Award winner as the nation's top punter in 2021.

He averaged an FBS single-season record 51.2 yards per punt and was also San Diego State's kicker while making all 45 of his extra points and 18 of 28 field-goals attempts. Throw in four tackles as someone who wasn't afraid to mix it up after kicking it, and there was little the 6'2", 200-pounder didn't do when the Aztecs' special teams were on the field.

If things go according to plan for Buffalo, it won't use Araiza much.

After all, his presence on the field will mean the high-powered offense with Josh Allen at the controls didn't score. The Bills led the AFC in points per game (28.4) last season and improved that unit by selecting running back James Cook and wide receiver Khalil Shakir in the draft.

They can now take solace knowing that Araiza should be able to boom a punt downfield on the rare occasions when the offense doesn't come through with a score.