The New York Jets went nowhere in the 2018 – 2019 season of the NFL competition, but it was not through any fault of their Aussie punter, Lachlan Edwards.
Edwards was born in the Melbourne suburb of Hastings and seemed destined for a fate of Australian Rules anonymity. He had some top shelf company during the years of his youth footy, playing alongside the likes of Tom Lynch, Dylan Shiel, Adam Treloar and Luke Parker, when all played for the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup.
His next stint was in the VFL with North Ballarat.
It was at Ballarat University that he picked up the game of American football and learned the trade of one of the two players in that code who are actually permitted to kick the ball.
Now, as the punting specialist for the Jets, Edwards is in line to receive $US 720,000 next season. Maybe not quite as much as a Tom Lynch, but remember, Edwards is involved in actual game play less than two minutes per week.
He put foot to ball 82 times in the season just concluded, and maintained an average of 45.9 yards per punt. Based on his salary from last season, Edwards earned $US 7,683 per punt.
Not bad for an Aussie Rules player who might never have made it onto the senior list of any of the AFL clubs.
A look at the statistics for Edwards, compared to two other Australians working as NFL punters, Jordan Berry of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michael Dickson of the Seattle Seahawks, Edwards is in the middle statistically, ahead of Berry but behind Dickson.
The true value of former Aussie Rules players serving as NFL punters emerges when the key statistic of punts that flew into the end zone for touchbacks, giving the opposition better field position, finds Edwards with just five such punts.
That sort of precision is a valuable weapon for NFL teams and Edwards is young enough that he can be plying his trade for many years, the only true risk being that he will eventually price himself out of the market.