Oscar Draguicevich III wasn’t selected in the 2021 NFL draft, but Washington State’s standout punter may have had a hunch he’d get an opportunity to play professional football anyway.
Within an hour of the 2021 draft ending, Draguicevich was posing for photos on Instagram with a Carolina Panthers cap. The Cougars’ career leader in punting average later confirmed to The Spokesman-Review he’d agreed to an undrafted free-agent deal with the NFC South organization.
The demand for punters in the 2021 draft was low, with none being taken through the first six rounds and just one – former Ray Guy Award winner Pressley Harvin III, of Georgia Tech – going late in the seventh. Only eight punters had been taken in the prior three drafts, so Draguicevich ’s most likely path to the NFL was always through free agency.
According to Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports, Draguicevich will receive a signing bonus of $7,000.
The Hutto, Texas, native, who transferred to WSU from Incarnate Word, may have a decent shot of sticking with Carolina, which lists just one punter on its current roster.
The team’s lone punter, Joseph Charlton, played at South Carolina before signing with the Panthers as an UDFA last July.
Charlton’s punting average (46.3 yards per punt) and number of punts inside the 20-yard line (21) ranked No. 16 in the NFL last season. Playing in just four games last year, Draguicevich managed a punting average of 46.7 yards per punt and stuck eight punts inside the 20-yard line.
Carolina used the draft to address multiple special teams needs. The Panthers picked up a punter in free agency after taking a long snapper, Alabama’s Thomas Fletcher, in the sixth round of the draft.
Draguicevich opted not to use his final year of college eligibility and left WSU as the school’s all-time leader in punting average, at 45.7 yards . He was twice named to the Ray Guy Award’s presesason watch list and earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors from the conference’s coaches, the Associated Press and Phil Steele.
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