Written by Tyler Pastorius
After the NFL Draft, teams do not stop. Instead, they continue to look over the players who were not drafted and decide if some of them earn the shot to be signed on as an undrafted free agent. For the San Jose State Punter, Michael Carrizosa this turned into a great opportunity for him as the Cleveland Browns called him to sign a deal. The 5’10”, 225-pound punter was no doubt about it one of the nation’s best punters.
I spoke with Carrizosa on what this opportunity means for him, “This is an opportunity of a lifetime. It’s been a childhood dream to play in the NFL, and now it’s very surreal that I’m getting my shot! I’ve enjoyed every minute of this process with great support from my family and friends and couldn’t be more grateful for being able to continue this journey. God is so great!” He was San Jose States all-time leader in punting average at 44.0 along with punting yards at a total of 9,907. Michael was a Ray Guy Award finalist for best punter in 2015 and was first-team All-Mountain West. This past year he also earned an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention while averaging 44.3 yards per kick.
The Browns had a great draft and looked to improve even more in the undrafted free agent market after the draft. With veteran punter Britton Colquitt still on the team, it is not sure if they are bringing in Michael for camp as competition or look to make him the starter. Colquitt has nine years of NFL experience and was evaluated for a concussion during week twelve of the season. Although last year they did sign Britton to a 4-year deal so there will be some kicking competition in Cleveland to go with the quarterback competition. Colquitt no doubt has a leg on him as does Carrizosa so it will be interesting to see how the Browns coaching staff will evaluate the position.
Personally, with all the young talent coming onto the team in Cleveland, I would aim to make the young bomber in Carrizosa the lead leg for punting. If Colquitt can sort of coach Michael up and show him the NFL speed when the defense is coming at you, then I think the Browns would be in a great spot for special teams. They could even have Carrizosa battle for lead kicking duties with Zane Gonzalez, so there are some questions to see how the depth chart will end up panning out.
Carrizosa is a California kid as well so let’s see if the weather affects the young kicker or if he can battle through it. Michael did play high school soccer along with football at Palma High School in Salinas, California (a heavily overcast type of area) so he might be able to battle through it. I look forward to seeing what the young punter can do at the professional level and the impact he can bring. A great punter means that a team can win the field position battle so hopefully, Michael can help with that.