Yesterday, we took a look at Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who is arguably the best kicker in NFL history and will wind up in the Hall of Fame one day - but not before at least playing in 2015 at 42 years old, likely at a high level too. Also happening yesterday, however, was a roster move that brought kicker Taylor Pontius to the Colts, and he's next in our series taking a look at every man on the team's offseason roster leading up to training camp.
Pontius (5-11, 180 pounds) is an undrafted kicker out of North Alabama who was in on a tryout basis for the Colts in their rookie mini-camp a week and a half ago - where he was obviously impressive enough to earn a spot on the 90-man roster. In 2014 for North Alabama, Pontius hit on 11-of-14 field goal attempts (including a school record 54-yarder) and also hit on 46-of-48 extra point attempts. He was named first-team All-Gulf South Conference kicker and received two Gulf South Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors as well throughout the season. In addition to his field goal kicking, however, he also notched 38 touchbacks on kickoffs and averaged 37.6 yards per punt, punting 38 times. In his two-year career at North Alabama, Pontius connected on 16-of-20 field goals and 57-of-59 extra points.
To be quite honest, the only way for Taylor Pontius to make the Colts' roster is if Adam Vinatieri were to get injured, and that wouldn't be a good thing for the Colts if that happened. Without a doubt, Pontius was brought in to be a camp leg - a guy who gives Vinatieri a rest so that he doesn't have to do all of the kicking in training camp. So from that perspective, Pontius really doesn't have much of a chance of making the Colts' roster, so it would seem to be an inconvenient job. From another perspective, however, Pontius now gets to work with Vinatieri (arguably the league's best kicker ever and arguably the league's best kicker now too) and Pat McAfee (arguably the league's best punter and special teams player). In working with those two, Pontius will surely learn and gain experience, and there are a number of teams who aren't sure about their kicking situation yet. Pontius' role in training camp will be simply to show enough to get a chance with another team. Last year, we saw Cody Parkey as the camp leg for the Colts, and he ended up as the Eagles' starting kicker, hitting on 32-of-36 field goals (including a game-winner against the Colts) and made the Pro Bowl. Parkey showed enough to earn him a spot elsewhere, and without a doubt working with Vinatieri and McAfee helped him develop. For Taylor Pontius, though he won't make the Colts' roster, he'll be trying to do the same thing that Parkey did - although, for Colts fans, hopefully without that game-winning kick to beat Indy.