Given the physical nature of football, isn’t it a little crazy how often games come down to the skinniest player on the team being able to kick the ball through the uprights or not? It’s not always a last-second kick either; sometimes a made or missed kick earlier in the game ends up being the deciding factor. That’s why it’s no coincidence that you’ll see a correlation between the best kickers in 2021 and the best teams in the NFL this season.
Best Kickers in 2021
The funny thing about being a great kicker is that you can remain a great kicker for a long time. Some of the best kickers this season have been among the best kickers in the NFL for years.
Of course, there are always young kickers who can kick the ball harder and further than some of the aging kickers, which is why it’s worth checking out our list of the best kickers in 2021.
10. Daniel Carlson, Raiders
For what it’s worth, Daniel Carlson is the tallest kicker in the league. More importantly, he’s done a great job of bouncing back after getting cut by the Vikings early in the 2018 season. He immediately landed with the Raiders and went on to set a new franchise record with a 94% success rate on field goals.
The 2020 season was the ONLY season in NFL history with a three-way tie for scoring leader.
Jason Sanders: 144 pts. (16 games)
Daniel Carlson: 144 pts. (16 games)
Younghoe Koo: 144 pts. (15 games) pic.twitter.com/zAMfBAeh1U
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) February 16, 2021
He’s been steady and consistent ever since, becoming a reliable kicker for Las Vegas.
9. Greg Zuerlein, Cowboys
His status as one of the elite kickers in the league has fallen a little bit in recent years. But he’s still Greg the Leg and he still has incredible range. Over the last four years, he’s missed just six PATs, and there aren’t many kickers who can say the same.
Even if his accuracy has waned during his time in Dallas, when he’s at his best Greg Zuerlein is still among the NFL’s best kickers.
8. Ryan Succop, Buccaneers
For a guy who sat out most of 2019 after knee surgery, Ryan Succop came back strong in 2020 in helping the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl.
He was over 90% on both PATs and field goals and has been consistently over 90% since PATs were moved back to 35 yards. Succop was a steady kicker before the injury and he looks like he’s back on that path.
7. Tyler Bass, Bills
— J.T. Messinger (@JTMessinger) August 28, 2021
While there were some missed field goals early in the season, Bass started to settle in late in the season. He even became the second kicker in league history to make three field goals of 54 yards or longer, showing he’s got the range to be one of the best kickers in the league for a long time to come.
6. Rodrigo Blankenship, Colts
It was just one season, but Rodrigo Blankenship looks like the real deal. He was an accomplished kicker in college who played in some big games and we saw that poise during his rookie season.
He was close to automatic on PATs and made 32 of his 37 field-goal tries, including a game-winner in overtime.
5. Chris Boswell, Steelers
Consistency is what you want from a kicker, and that’s exactly what Chris Boswell provides. His PAT misses are few and far between and he has a career field goal percentage of 88%.
Boswell also has the range to make field goals from 50-plus yards, which is why the Steelers have made sure to keep him around.
4. Jason Sanders, Dolphins
Jason Sanders has only been in the league for a few years, but he’s quickly earned himself a great reputation. He was an underrated part of Miami’s playoff push in 2020, staying perfect on kicks longer than any other kicker.
jason sanders has entered the chat https://t.co/glJuWxvW5v
— NONOISE (@imakenonoise) August 28, 2021
While it’s a small sample, he has a career field goal average of 86.5%. Plus, after being a First-Team All-Pro last season, Sanders is poised to be one of the NFL’s top kickers in 2021.
3. Younghoe Koo, Falcons
Younghoe Koo’s career path hasn’t exactly been a straight line, but ever since he arrived in Atlanta in 2019, he’s quickly ascended to the top of the kicking hierarchy.
Even if you include a rough season with the Chargers in 2017, he’s made 88.7% of his field goals while showing enough range to be among the best in the league. After making the Pro Bowl in 2020, it’s clear that the rest of the league is finding out that Koo’s leg is a weapon that can change games.
2. Harrison Butker, Chiefs
Among kickers with at least 100 field goal attempts, Harrison Butker is second on the all-time list with a 90.3% success rate.
When he kicks the ball, it’s a safe bet that it’s going through the uprights, even on deep field goals. His case is hurt a little after a few too many PAT misses in 2020. But it’s not enough to take Butker out of the top two kickers in the league.
1. Justin Tucker, Ravens
There should be no doubt that Justin Tucker is the best kicker heading into 2021.
Justin Tucker is unreal
From BEHIND the logo pic.twitter.com/GOUF2vbgTY
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) August 27, 2021
He’s literally the most accurate kicker in league history and has a career-long of 61 yards, so he can make field goals from deep positions. Some kickers can struggle to be consistent from one year to the next, but Tucker’s four Pro Bowl selections and four selections to the First-Team All-Pro speak for themselves.
He’s been the NFL’s best kicker for a while, and that isn’t changing anytime soon.
Find the rest of our 2021 NFL position rankings here.