INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez had a tall task as a rookie in 2017 by attempting to replace former All-Pro punter Pat McAfee, but so far he has answered the challenge.
About Sanchez, Harrison wrote:
"Stepping in for a living legend in Indy like Pat McAfee couldn't have been easy for Sanchez, but the first-year punter out of Hawaii was in the top 10 of net average in the NFL. Not bad for an undrafted rookie."
In 2017, the Colts signed free agent punter Jeff Locke as the primary candidate to replace McAfee, but then also signed Sanchez as an undrafted free agent to add competition at the position. Sanchez impressed in training camp and the preseason as a punter, kickoff specialist and holder on kicks, however, winning the job over the veteran Locke.
Sanchez made the most out of a busy rookie season. He had the sixth-most punts in the NFL (84) with the fourth-highest net average (42.6). He also forced the second-most fair catches (27), which led to the fourth-fewest returned punts (19).
Overall, Sanchez allowed just 80 return yards on his punts, which was the second fewest in the NFL, and the 4.2 yards per return were tied for the fewest allowed. Sanchez also showed a strong leg on kickoffs, as 46 of his 70 kickoffs went for touchbacks.
If Sanchez continues receiving accolades from the national media, then his next step up may eventually be a Pro Bowl nod.