Over the next few days, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will take a look at three players—one from each unit—who could enjoy a breakout season in 2016. Up first …
Kicker Dustin Hopkins
2015 regular season stats: 25 of 28 on field goals (89.3 percent) and 39 of 40 on PATs
2016 cap number: $600,000
In review: Hopkins made his NFL debut in Week 2 and quickly established himself as one of the league’s most reliable kickers. Among his highlights:
- He went 4 for 4 on field goals and 5 for 5 on PATs in Washington’s Week 10 win over New Orleans, the club that cut him in camp.
- He forced overtime in Atlanta with a 52-yarder in the final seconds.
- In Chicago, he connected from 47-yards out early in the fourth quarter, on a soggy field, to help jump start the Redskins’ pivotal four-game winning streak.
What really set Hopkins apart, though, was his kickoffs. The Florida State product averaged 62.1 yards per and recorded 52 touchbacks, the sixth highest total in the league and 14 more than Kai Forbath amassed in three-plus seasons in Washington. Hopkins was also one of eight kickers to convert at least one onside attempt.
Overall, Hopkins was rated as the 10th best kicker in football by ProFootballFocus.com.
Looking ahead: Hopkins set a pretty high bar for himself in 2015. But he also knows this: kickers that stick around for the long haul are consistent, from week-to-week and from season-to-season.
And as long as there are kickers with a better field goal percentage (there were eight) or a better touchback percentage (eight there, too), Hopkins has a goal to pursue.
“I feel like it’s kind of similar to the way our season ended as a team, personally, in that there was a lot of good things to build on and some plays that I wish I could have back,” he told Redskins.com last month. “So in the offseason, I’m looking forward to getting as good as I can be and coming back stronger next year.”