METAIRIE, La. -- Sean Payton has burned through 10 kickers over the past 10 years. But he is hoping the New Orleans Saints may have finally found the one.
Payton offered up some tremendous praise for new undrafted kicker Wil Lutz on Wednesday, saying he had “probably the best kicking workout I’ve ever seen.”
Payton said the Saints didn’t plan to replace veteran kicker Kai Forbath heading into this week. But they brought in Lutz for a tryout Monday after he had drawn praise for his performance with the Baltimore Ravens this summer. And they were blown away by the results.
“That was a little bit of an unplanned surprise in a good way. ... We thought Kai had done a great job. We certainly weren’t looking to replace that kicker,” said Payton, who was asked to elaborate on what stood out in Lutz’s workout.
“I just thought the velocity, the accuracy ... and the way it came off his foot, his leg strength ... every element to it,” Payton said. “So we saw X number of field goals, X number of kickoffs, deep kickoffs, short. And when it was over with I looked at (pro scouting director Terry Fontenot) and everyone else that was at the workout, and I said, ‘Have we seen anything else like that?’ It was real impressive.”
Lutz made 2 of 3 field goal attempts during the preseason with the Ravens (the miss coming from 53 yards).
He served as both a kicker and punter at Georgia State, where he made just 31 of 46 field goal attempts -- though eight of those misses came from beyond 48 yards. Lutz was 23-of-27 from inside the 40-yard line and finished as Georgia State’s all-time leader in field goals, PATs (120), points (213) and games played (47).
He is now the Saints’ 11th kicker in 11 years -- a list that includes John Carney (three times), Billy Cundiff, Olindo Mare, Martin Gramatica, Taylor Mehlhaff, Garrett Hartley (also on-again, off-again), John Kasay, Shayne Graham, Zach Hocker and Forbath.