NFL teams are always looking for innovative ways to add talent to their roster. It appears that the Detroit Lions spend some time on You Tube. In their quest to replace veteran kicker Jason Hanson, the Lions have already signed free agent David Akers but have also added You Tube sensation Harvard Rugland from Norway. Rugland is a trick-shot kicker that really makes some amazing kicks in his video which has been viewed nearly 3 million times.
Last season, another trick-shot video was making the rounds. Monmouth College quarterback Alex Tanney was filmed making some amazing shots with a football. Tanney was an undrafted free agent and spent time in the camps of the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers before landing on the injured reserve list with the Kansas City Chiefs, missing the entire season.
In Tanney’s case, making amazing trick throws with a football does not translate into success on the football field because the quarterback position requires the player to possess other skills as well. Kickers however, that is another story.
Rugland illustrates a tremendous ability to manipulate the football in his video. He drills 60-yard kicks. He kicks the football through the uprights from long distances while the football is in the air. He drills kicks from the sidelines, putting a curve on the football that would make a major league pitcher envious. To finish the video, he kicks one football in the air, and then kicks a second which strikes the first one in mid-air.
Now there is no way to know how many attempts it took in order to make this video, but he does have some skills when it comes to kicking the pigskin.
There is no guarantee that Akers makes the Lions roster. Akers led the NFL in scoring during the 2011 season but struggled mightily last season with the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners allowed Akers to walk and eventually signed former Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson.
NFL teams will likely be keeping an eye on Rugland this training camp. Even if he doesn’t land a job as a place kicker, he might be an interesting prospect as a punter.
Unlike Nigel “The Leg” Gruff, the kicker in the movie The Replacements, Rugland is a stocky 6-foot-2 240 pounds. No word yet as to whether or not he’ll be smoking on the field though.