Whilst the nine Eagles players picked up after the draft through the UDFA are not all that memorable, one name that does interest me is Punter Brad Wing from LSU. I did intend to write about him when he signed, but alas Matt Barkley articles seem to have taking precedence over anyone else. Brad Wing is an ex Aussie rules player from Melbourne Australia who featured in 23 games for LSU before declaring for the 2013 draft. He was by many rated as the number one punter in terms of skill-set, character issues knocked him into the UDFA and there-in lies his issues. Though I’ll talk about them in a moment, firstly we have to look at what he can do and in all honesty I’m quite excited about this guy… a punter.
His most famous play is a fake TD run, as he reached the five yard line though he raised his arms all of thirty centimetres and the TD was rubbed of on account of Wing’s showboating. He is extremely accurate of his 118 punts during his career, 48 put the opposing teams within their 20, and against Alabama he pushed them into their five yard line twice in one game, and in the same game pulled of a pearler punting 73 yards.
His father was also a punter, playing for the Detroit Lions and whilst NFL Europe was still in operation he punted for the well known Scottish Claymores. So it’s no surprise that his 44.6 yard average and 187 average punt yards a game caught the eye of Chip Kelly. I have always thought punters are a little underrated, numerous times Brad put the LSU defense on the field with their opponents within their five yard line, a 95 yard drive is hard to pull off time and again and as such field position is such an important factor of any game that someone like Wing is truly a necessity when it comes to winning games. When you do manage to pin opponents so deep in their own half you pile so much pressure on them that mistakes be they INT’s, fumbles or safeties are a given.
It also helps when you once played in a game against your new HC’s college team. Against Oregon Wing punted 6 times, for a total of 248 yards which is roughly 42 yards per kick but his longest came in at 58 yards which no doubt impressed Kelly as Oregon went on to lose 40-27 a lot of that loss was no doubt down to Wing constantly giving his LSU D prime field position.
His issues though are no doubt the reason that he went undrafted. Of note he missed out on the Chick-fil-A bowl due to failing a drugs test and was subsequently suspended by LSU for failing said drugs test. He was also lucky to not find himself behind bars after assaulting Cameron Charles Chabert. After entering Chabert’s hotel room, questioning whether Cameron was in contact with his ex-girlfriend before proceeding to throw him off the bed and then landing numerous punches and kicks to Cameron’s body. Brad was arrested and a restraining order was filed.
He is a crowd pleaser and during his time in high school he would put on punting ‘shows’ if you will as everyone marveled at his leg.
He would help give the D such good field position which would hopefully result in a shorter field when our offense returns to the field. His accuracy and strength alone are remarkable and he can even kick with both his left and right foot making him a little bit more versatile than most other punters. As seen with the fake TD he has the confidence to pull such plays off, notice how his first four of five paces were nothing more than a casual walk, he was basically selling the punt and it worked flawlessly. He even had the speed to make it a fair distance and then walk into the endzone.
Chip needs to look at his character flags and bring Brad back down to earth as he could become quite the weapon. This will be difficult though as you only have to take a quick parooze through the online sports media outlets to see that Titus Young, another one with character issues pre-draft, has been arrested twice in one day and someone who was lethal when he wanted to be at WR has now prematurely ended his career for simply having the wrong attitude. I just hope Brad doesn’t follow in Titus’ footsteps.