The New Orleans Saints brought in a new punter for the 2023 NFL season. They made the shocking decision to release Blake Gillikin in favor of Lou Hedley. The UDFA was brought into compete with Gillikin and ended up beating him out. Was this the right decision? Let’s take a look at the season that Hedley had.
Hedley ended up punting the ball 75 times for an average of 43 yards. His average ranked 37th in the NFL among all punters. Just a reminder, there are 30 teams in the NFL. This means essentially seven backups punted for a higher average.
However, punting isn’t all about who punts for the most yards. Hedley was able to notch 31 punts inside the 20th, which ranked fifth in the league. After that, the stats don’t get much better. His punts had an average hangtime of 4.04, ranking 32nd in the league.
Overall, PFF gave him a 56.2 grade on the season. This put Hedley near the bottom of the league, ranking 36th among all punters.
I wouldn’t expect Hedley to be back next season. The team will likely go in a different direction, whether in free agency or picking up another UDFA.