The hyperbole machine ahead of the 2018 – 2019 NFL season is in high gear, such that one reporter for a major US network is predicting that Aussie punter Michael Dixon could get the nod at season’s end as the offensive rookie of the year.
Punting specialists are barely tolerated by their teammates. While the rest of them are sweating on the practice field, the punter is off on his own, kicking balls, chasing those balls, and then kicking them again.
The punting aspect of the American gridiron game does have significance, but Rookie of the Year goes to a player at one of the skilled positions. Think quarterback, running back, wide receiver, etc.
No mistake, Dickson is the genuine article and he will help the Seattle Seahawks that selected him in the fifth round of the last draft. Of that, there is no doubt.
His ability to land his kicks precisely where he intends is the byproduct of Dickson’s Aussie Rule football background. He was a product of the Sydney Swans talent academy and developed his skills with ProKick Australia before heading off for NCAA Division 1A gridiron with the University of Texas.
His ability is obvious and his being selected in the fifth round, unheard of in a league where punters are often free agents and are seldom drafted, regardless of their origins, is testament to the esteem with which he is viewed.
He proved his leg strength in the preseason, averaging 52.5 yards per kick and in one recent preseason game, he pinned the opposition down near its own goal line on two occasions with precision spirals.
Dickson will be in action for real when the Seahawks open the regular season at Denver this weekend. At the mile-high above sea-level elevation of that city, Dickson could make that 52.5 preseason average look like something your baby sister would produce.
If he gets the right field position and the opportunity to let one out, he could easily kick a ball 80 yards through the air and beyond the confines of the stadium.