The Raiders added another rookie undrafted free agent last Thursday when they signed former Tennessee kicker/punter, Mike Palardy. In signing him, they get the equivalent of two players because the left footed kicker is also a capable punter.
Palardy had tweeted he had been signed by the Jets but from the looks of it, it was just a tryout. He attended rookie camp with the Jets where he competed for a roster spot and left unsigned.
Through most of Palardy's college career, he was the primary kicker for the Volunteers. He didn't expand his repertoire to punting until his junior season, taking over as the primary punter for the final six games of the season. He kept both jobs full time through his senior season and may have found his niche.
His overall college numbers as a kicker were not that great. In his four years at Tennessee, he was 37 for 50 for a subpar 74%. He did, however improve his numbers in each of the last three seasons culminating in going 14 of 17 as a senior for a career high 82.4%. His career long was from 52 yards at Alabama in 2011. He had three total attempts from 52 yards, missing two of them.
His biggest kick was the game-winner to knock off South Carolina who was ranked 11th in the country at the time. It was a pretty big deal as it was the first win for Tennessee against a ranked opponent in five years That kick earned him Lou Groza Star of the Week honors and SEC Special Teams Player of the Week. He helped his own cause in that game with a career-high 6 punts inside the 20-yard line.
While being a left-footed kicker is the primary reason for his joining the Raiders as the backup to Sebastian Janikowski, it was his senior numbers as a punter that earned him the most accolades. He was named to the ESPN All-SEC first team, AP All-SEC Honorable Mention, and a Ray Guy Award semi-finalist.
Last season he punted 63 times, with more than half of them landing inside the 20-yard line. In total 33 of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line with 17 of those landing inside the 10-yard line. He also had 19 times punts travel at least 50 yards with none of them blocked. His longest punt went for 69 yards against Kentucky.
Currently the Raiders have no reason to want to replace Marquette King who last season led the league in yards per punt (48.9) and improved his directional punting and placement as the season went on.
Though Palardy was a punter and kicker in high school he didn't become a fulltime punter until late in his college career - like King -- so he too has room to improve. Although while King had all the leg and none of the discipline when he came out, Palardy boasts some of both.
At this point, Palardy is just a camp leg and I don't expect he will take a job from anyone. But he has the stats and potential to at very least be a valuable insurance plan. He will have the opportunity to audition for the Raiders as well as the rest of the NFL this preseason.
As non-glamorous as signing a UDFA kicker/punter camp leg might be, his addition is a bit more important than you'd think. His ability to kick and punt allows the Raiders to not carry a player at each position which frees up a roster spot elsewhere.
He will wear number 6 for the Raiders, which was previously worn by Daniel Zychlinski; the man he is replacing.