For the past 10 seasons, the Los Angeles Rams have run out of Johnny Hekker when the attack stalled and they were forced to pound. In 2022, veteran Riley Dixon and newcomer Cameron Dicker will fight to follow in Hacker’s footsteps, keepers and feeders.
These are great shoes to fill. When Les Snead took over as CEO of Ramsi in 2012, he signed Hekker as a non-draft free agent (UDFA) in Oregon. The 6’5-inch former high school quarterback repaid Snead, arguably the best player in the NFL.
Over the course of his decade, he was a six-time All-Pro, averaging 46.7 yards at 727 yards and scoring 14 passes out of 186 yards. He was also known for his ability to throw 20-yard shots and avoid setbacks. However, the Rams released him in March and now either Dixon and Dicker are following him instead.
Dixon’s height of 6’4 inches (221 pounds) was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 2016 NFL draft from Syracuse in the seventh round (No. 228). He was named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team after performing an average of 45.7 yards per point and falling into the 28-yard-twenty-yard line.
After two seasons in Denver, Dixon was replaced by the New York Giants. He spent four years at the Big Apple, beating 279 times with 12,598 yards and an average score of 45.2. Last March, Giants needed to make some moves to get under his hat and released Dixon.
Coming from college, Dixon was not known for his powerful leg. He was a “hang time” man, with 41.6 percent of his shots being hit honestly in the last two years in Syracuse. Now that he’s out of the old Carrier Dome and plays mostly out in the NFL, his fair catch rate has been 25.85 percent, which puts him at the center of NFL player stats. It is about the same in its twenty statistics, among the top 20. One indicator that needs to be thoroughly controlled is blocked points. Dixon has blocked five balls in six years, one of the most in the NFL. By comparison, Hekker has had five blocks in 10 years.
Widely known as Texas Longhorns’ four-year-old starting player, Dicker took on the role of senior competitor in 2021. He had 47 boots to cover an average of 46.8 yards in 2,200 yards and was named the first team’s All-Big 12 batsman. . He scored 16 points over 50 yards, 11 within twenty yards and forced 21 fair hits. His ball career actually began as a junior in 2020, when a regular player in Longhorns was injured at the end of the season. Dicker came in for the final eight points of the season and an average of 43.6.
Rams chose Dicker as the new UDFA. The 6 ‘1 “216-pound was a double Texas All-State kicker, leaving Austin Texas the best goal scorer of all time. Even because of his inexperience, Dicker chose the top five bettors Pro-football network and Lance Zirlein on NFL.com said he was “touched by the corner shots of the coffin” and was “accurate in his directional blows”.
Dicker is a development perspective. He seems to have the natural qualities to cope with this role, but it can take only 55 points to reach the league. When Rams play the form, their players have historically managed to meet their PAT and goal gate responsibilities, and it always takes a lot of repetition to achieve significant timing and correct placement.
So who fills Hekker’s shoes?
Dixon is a known amount. He is a six-year-old pro and his stroke did not diminish much as he left the air in Denver and moved to Meadowlands. He is in the middle or slightly below the scoring set. In 2020 and 21, the New York Giants had a lot of points, but PAT and FG had good conversion rates. This suggests that Dixon is a capable keeper. Perhaps most prominently, the current Rams Special Team Coordinator, Joe Decamillis, played the same role in 2016 when Denver elected Dixon.
Dicker is one of those rare three positions (punting, kickoffs, PAT) and can provide real value if it can be developed. The college days saw him play and win big games against the highest competition. He has a sporty profile, a strong leg and, although it is a modest production, he is not afraid to be physical and get the equipment. Yes, he has little hunting experience, but he already has working hours and guidance skills. Can he be a ram’s long-term response as a contributor and reserve striker?
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