Why is Bryant such a value this year? After all, he plays with a fairly potent offense -- one with the potential to be among the league's most productive. Well, the six games he missed due to injury last year are one reason. Another? Bryant had his first season below 85 percent field goals made in 2015 when he notched just 14 of 18 tries, with three misses coming from 40-plus yards. In addition, the injury raises some concern about Bryant's age. Yes, we've see kickers work well into their 40's time and time again and that's exactly what Bryant has done. He has 14 years under his belt and is just turned 41. So, as Fansided recently pointed out, Bryant's days in the league are numbered. The Falcons realize this. They signed Nick Rose out of the University of Texas to compete with Bryant for the 2016 starting job. Make sure Bryant wins that battle before you invest on draft day.
Matt Bryant 2015 Outlook
The Falcons signed Bryant to a contract extension this offseason. Although he’s no spring chicken, the decision to keep him around makes sense. Bryant has been one of the NFL’s most consistent kickers since joining Atlanta as a free agent in 2009, converting 88.6 percent of his field goal attempts. The veteran kicker has scored 666 points with the Falcons -- second in franchise history behind Morten Andersen. The 40 year old enjoyed a strong 2014 campaign, converting 29-of-32 field goal attempts while leading the NFL in kicks made beyond 50 yards. And the new PAT distance of 33 yards? Bryant is 19-of-20 for his career on field goals from 32 or 33 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Bryant has made 403-of-407 extra points through his first 14 seasons. With an offense led by Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, Bryant should continue to get plenty of opportunities in 2015.
Matt Bryant 2014 Outlook
Bryant made 89 percent of his field goals last year but still didn't finish as a top-12 kicker. There was a pretty good reason for that, however; as CBSSports.com noted, it was because the Atlanta offense didn't give him many opportunities -- just 27 field goal tries along with 39 extra points. But he was 8 of 10 from 40-plus yards (three of five from 50-plus). He also hit at least one field goal in every game but two and he remains a strong kicking option now that the Falcons' offense figures to rebound in 2014 with Julio Jones and Roddy White expected to be fully healthy. Upgrades to the offensive line will help, too. CBS went on to suggest that Bryant is the kind of kicker most owners will forget about. Owners who like to wait until their very last pick to secure their kicker might not want to fall into that trap.