2010 NFL Draft: Top Punters

Chris J. NelsonSenior Writer IMarch 19, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Punter Zoltan Mesko #41 of the Michigan Wolverines punts the ball under pressure from Terrell Thomas #28 and Cary Harris #7 of the USC Trojans during the Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2007 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Trojans defeated the Wolverines 32-18.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the 2010 NFL Draft just over a month away, I will be highlighting the top players at each position in this year's class.

These are the top punter prospects available in the 2010 NFL Draft.

1. Zoltan Mesko, Michigan

A punter in a linebacker's body at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Mesko has a big leg and will very likely be the first punter off the board in 2010.

Mesko boasts an impressive 42.5 career punting average, including a high of 44.5 yards as a senior with the Wolverines in 2009.

A four-time Academic All-American and two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Mesko will push to be drafted sometime on the third day, possibly in the fifth or sixth round.

2. Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech

Bowden punted three seasons for the Hokies after redshirting in 2005 and not playing in 2006, eventually finishing with a career average of 42.2 yards and 72 punts downed inside the opponents' 20-yard line.

A good directional punter with solid hang-time, Bowden should hear his named called toward the end of this year's draft.

3. Matt Dodge, East Carolina

Originally a member of the Appalachian State Mountaineers in 2005, Dodge transferred to ECU and punted three seasons for the Pirates after sitting out the 2006 season.

Dodge showed steady improvement in four seasons of punting at the college level, improving on his 39.7 average as a true freshman to an impressive 45.8 mark during his senior year.

A first-team All-Conference USA selection in 2009, Dodge could come off the board in the seventh round next April or be picked up as an undrafted free agent.

4. Robert Malone, Fresno State

After just 22 attempts and unimpressive punting during his first two seasons with the Bulldogs, Malone stepped things up in a big way during his junior and senior seasons.

Malone capped off his collegiate career with a 45.2 average as a senior, and also downed 17 of his 44 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line.

An athletic punter with room to grow, Malone is a borderline draftable prospect, but will be in someone's camp regardless.

5. Scott Ravanesi, Southern Illinois

The lone non-FBS punter on the list, Ravanesi was a four-year punter for the Salukis from 2006 to 2009.

Despite a decreasing punting average each of his last three seasons, Ravanesi did increase his punts downed inside the 20 each year in the span, and finished his career with a respectable 42.6 average.

Although he is unlikely to be drafted next month, Ravanesi is sure to be picked up by someone and could challenge for a job down the line.

Who are your top punters in this year's draft class? Share your thoughts on the forum here!


Chris J. Nelson is a journalism major at Georgia State University. He operates his own Miami Dolphins Web site, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and can be followed on Twitter here.


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