The Baltimore Ravens jumped on the phone as soon as the last pick was made at the 2009 NFL Draft yesterday and signed undrafted free agent placekicker, Graham Gano, out of Florida State University. Gano, who is arguable the nation's best placekicker, should provide great competition for the open spot on the Ravens roster with the team's decision not to re-sign veteran Matt Stover. That leaves Steve Hauschka, who made a couple of kicks, but mainly kicked off last year, and Gano, to compete for the roster spot for 2009.
Gano is a great signing for the Ravens and perhaps might end up being the most significant free agent on their roster this upcoming season. His leg is very strong and his accuracy is excellent. In 2008, he converted 24 of 26 attempts and led the nation in FG's and total points per game. He made a school record 18 straight at one point and hit five FG's from at least 50 yards. In addition, he handled all kicking and punting duties for the Seminoles and was named the ACC's top punter by the Sporting News with a 42.1 average. His versatility in the kicking game in addition to his obvious success make him a strong favorite to win the Ravens job as their kicker going into 2009.
I wanted the Ravens to draft him with their last pick yesterday and was shocked not only that no other team grabbed him and the Ravens were able to sign him to a contract so quickly. Excellent move to an already excellent weekend.
NOTE: For more info on Graham Gano, head on over to GrahamGano.com, where they have a lot of stats, photos, etc. (That's where I got the cool photo above.)
UPDATED NOTE: Check out this jersey photo that we should see a lot of in 2009 (although probably a different number than this, or the #43 Gano wore at FSU, considering it is already taken by Ravens safety and judo champion, Haruki Nakamura, so I wouldn't recomment Gano trying to take it from 'ruki!)