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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Ranking the NFC South punters

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

We're down to the punters in our series of NFC South position rankings. The return men will come Wednesday before we move on to coaches and the front office.

But let's not sell the punters short. This spot might be one of the division's strongest areas. The first three guys in the rankings each drew serious consideration for the top spot. Here they are:

1. Michael Koenen, Atlanta. His coverage unit helped a lot, but opponents had only 49 return yards on Koenen last season. No wonder the Falcons used the franchise tag on their punter.

2. Josh Bidwell, Tampa Bay. Has the strongest leg in the division. Would be in the top spot if Koenen and the Falcons had given up more in returns.

3. Jason Baker, Carolina. The division's most consistent punter. Baker's averaged over 44 yards a punt each of the last three seasons and, mercifully, has helped the world forget Todd Sauerbrun ever was in Carolina.

4. Glenn Pakulak. The guy is only eight games into his NFL career, but he did average 47.7 yards a punt last year. The Saints like his leg strength, but used a fifth-round pick on Thomas Morestead because they aren't sure about Pakulak's consistency.