- Two weeks into the 2018 NFL season, Seahawks rookie punter Michael Dickson is already the most captivating special teams player in the league.
- Dickson didn’t get his start in American football until 2015, but quickly rose to prominence in college and was eventually picked by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
- Through two weeks, Dickson is amongst the league leaders in punting statistics and has also utilised his drop-kicking abilities on several occasions for the Seahawks.
Special teams players, like referees, are usually doing their jobs best when they go relatively unnoticed.
For kickers, punters, and long snappers, the lights shine brightest in their moments of failure, and a long, anonymous career is an enjoyable, prosperous outcome of their time in the NFL.
A few special players break this mould – Justin Tucker has made a name for himself with his uncanny ability to hit field goals from 60+ yards out, and Marquette King’s booming punts and dance moves brought him more attention than you might expect for a punter.
Just two weeks into his professional career, the newest member of this list of standout special teamers is Michael Dickson, rookie punter for the Seattle Seahawks.
Dickson made a splash in college, most notably winning MVP of the Texas Bowl, as he helped lead the Longhorns to a 33-16 victory over Missouri. In that game, Dickson kicked 11 punts – 10 landed inside the 15-yard line, seven inside the 10-yard line, and four left Missouri pinned within five yards of their end zone.
At the 2018 NFL Draft, the Seahawks picked Dickson up in the fifth round, and after an impressive preseason, beat out 10-year veteran Jon Ryan for the starting job. With punts like this, it’s easy to see what Pete Carroll and company saw in their rookie.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 31, 2018
Now, just two weeks into the season, Dickson’s already made quite an impact for Seattle.
Dickson has punted the ball 13 times, putting five inside the 20, and no touchbacks. He is also third in the NFL in net punting. His first regular-season game came at Mile High Stadium against the Denver Broncos, where he helped give the Seahawks an edge in the battle for field position early in the game.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 9, 2018
Dickson has also proven to be one of the more versatile special teamers in the league, serving up a dropkick for Seattle against the Bears on Monday night – the first in the NFL since 2015.
He dropkicked it?! ????#SEAvsCHI
????: ESPN pic.twitter.com/NTS7xhqiEy
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2018
While Dickson’s dropkick might not be the norm, it’s a useful tool for the Seahawks to break out in certain situations.
In this case, Seattle was kicking off from midfield thanks to a penalty on an extra point attempt. Rather than a traditional kickoff, the Seahawks opted for the dropkick, which allows for a longer hang time and thus better downfield coverage on the return.
The most amazing aspect of Dickson’s rise to special teams stardom is how much room he still has to grow. Born in Australia, Dickson honed his powerful leg playing Aussie rules football with his first attempt at kicking at American football not coming until 2015.
With the Seahawks open to using Dickson in unique ways – they even attempted an onside dropkick – there’s a good chance these aren’t the last highlights we get out of him through the 2018 season.
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