Having never worked out privately for the team, kicker
But, unbeknownst to Hocker, Redskins special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica had his eye on the Arkansas kicker for quite a while.
The Redskins picked up Hocker Saturday with the 228th-overall selection in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, making Hocker not only the first kicker off the board in the draft this year, but the first kicker the Redskins have drafted since taking Tennessee’s John Hall in the sixth round of the 1999 NFL Draft.
“It’s a dream come true,” Hocker told the media shortly after his selection. “It’s one of those things with kickers, it’s up in the air as far as being drafted, but fortunately enough I get come to be a part of the organization, and I cannot wait.”
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said bringing in Hocker is important because he adds competition at the kicker position, which is filled by incumbent
“He’s a very productive kicker at Arkansas,” Gruden said of Hocker. “His kickoffs, I think he was ranked ninth or 10th in the nation as far as touchbacks, which is excellent. He was a productive kicker, obviously, all throughout college.”
Forbath — who has converted 35-of-40 (87.5 percent) of his field goals in his two seasons with the Redskins — has been a key piece to the team’s special teams unit, but Gruden has challenged him to improve upon his kickoffs.
“That’s a fact that he’s obviously a very good field goal kicker, which is important,” Gruden said of Forbath. “We have a lot of respect for his talent as a kicker, but we also feel like we needed to bring in another kicker in here and compete and look at for the kickoff specialist-type thing and compete with Kai. Every other position on the football team has competition and the kicker should be no different.”
NOTES ON THE SELECTION OF ZACH HOCKER
· Hocker is the eighth selection of the Jay Gruden era and is the 42nd selection by the Redskins under Executive Vice President/General Manager Bruce Allen.
· Hocker is the 478th selection made by the Redskins in the Common Draft era (since 1967) and the 58th seventh-round selection in that time frame. He is the 89th seventh-round selection by the Redskins all-time since the institution of the draft in 1936.
· Hocker was the first kicker selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
· Hocker is the first kicker selected by the Redskins since taking Tennessee’s John Hall in the sixth round of the 1999 NFL Draft.
· Hocker is the seventh listed kicker selected by the Redskins in the Common Draft era, joining Mike Braff (1968), Mike Wedman (1973), Mike Flater (1974), Dan Miller (1982), Chip Lohmiller (1988) and Hall (1999).
· Hocker is the seventh player selected by the Redskins all-time with the No. 228 overall selection, joining T Hal Mullins (1947), B Dick West (1948), B Frank Pattee (1949), K Mike Flater (1974), DE Dallas Hickman (1975) and RB Jawan Jamison (2013).
· Washington has now made selections at No. 228 in consecutive seasons across the 2013 and 2014 NFL Drafts. All of Washington’s picks at No. 228 (1947-49, 1974-75, 2013-14) have either been preceded or followed by another selection at No. 228 in the draft the year before or year after.
· Hocker was the Redskins’ second of two selections in the 2014 NFL Draft acquired from Tennessee (RB
· Hocker is the 11th Arkansas Razorback selected by the Redskins all-time, joining C Earl Wheeler (1947), B Ross Pritchard (1949), B Alvin Duke (1950), G Buddy Brown (1951), B A.J. Baker (1955), G John Childress (1962), G Dave Adams (1963), B Gordon Guest (1964), LB Jeff Goff (1982) and LB Ravin Caldwell (1986).
Led team with 104 points in 2010, connecting on 16 of 19 field-goal attempts with a long of 51 and all 56 extra-point tries. Broke the school record for points by a kicker in 2011 with 118 after making 21 of 27 FGs with a long of 50 and 55 of 57 PATs. Also kicked off 93 times for a 67.8-yard average with 40 touchbacks. In 2012, made 11 of 18 FGs with a long of 46 and all 32 PATs, and kicked off 58 times for a 64.7-yard average with 39 touchbacks. In 2013, hit on 13 of 15 FGs with a career long of 54 and all 28 PATs, and kicked off 50 times for a 63.2-yard average with 34 touchbacks. Also punted seven times for a 45.7-yard average with a long of 77 and one inside the 20-yard line. Led the Razorbacks in scoring each season and holds school records for points by a kicker (354), FG percentage (77.2), PATs made (171), PATs attempted (173) and field goals (61).
Good leg speed. Consistently converted beyond 50 (3-4 as a senior) and has enough velocity to hang the ball on kickoffs. Well-grounded and humble.
Soccer-style kicker whose leg strength and accuracy seemed to be weakening heading into his senior season, with diminished accuracy and range. Rebounded to make his senior season his best. Could warrant consideration in a camp..