With the 2020 NFL Draft looming this week, German kicker Dominik Eberle has triggered serious discussion about his chances of playing in the NFL.
Eberle has had a college career the envy of any football player.
Kicking for the Utah State Aggies since 2016, the Nuremberg, Germany native has broken and still holds numerous school and conference records including most individual career points scored at USU and most field goals made in Mountain West history with 64, ahead of Utah’s Louie Sakoda. He was a finalist for the Lou Groza award in 2017 and a semi-finalist in 2018.
The 6’2″, 190 pound Eberle also became just the sixth player in NCAA history to kick three 50-plus yard field goals in a game, a feat he easily accomplished against New Mexico State in 2018.
You might say he has a leg.
He spoke to the USA Statesman early in the 2019 season about the strength of his kicking leg:
“From anyday, I’d probably say around 60 yards. But if there’s wind at my back, I’d say 65-70. I’ve worked on the longer range kicks, that was really my focus. I wanna be more accurate from 45-50 yards out than I have, but being smart about it, not trying to over-kick it.”
“Mentally you’ve got to be strong; you’ve got to be calm in certain situations, and you’ve just gotta constantly envision that. Because without that, most of the time it’s not going to happen,”
This is an attitude that will bode him well as the 2020 NFL Draft looms this week. Although there is no certainty that he will get drafted, Eberle is a solid bet for an undrafted free agent contract or at worst a tryout.
The New York Post has Eberle listed as the third-rated kicking prospect in this year’s draft, ahead of Wyoming’s Cooper Rothe. More than one source also has the New England Patriots interested in picking up a new kicker with the recent release of kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
He played soccer growing up and moved from Germany to California as a high schooler which is when he took an interest in American football. Still, he has stayed true to his Nuremberg roots and still cheers for his childhood team, Nuremberg FC, and not the internationally famous Bayern Munich.
“We have Bayern Munich about two hours away, so some of my friends are Bayern fans. But that’s kind of like the biggest team, the most successful team, so people choose to like that. But just being from a smaller city just going to the games with my dad since I was about four years old, was just a different experience. And I’m never going to turn my back on them, no matter how they do.”
In another interview, Eberle stated he is just looking for opportunity:
“…I just got to go out there and do my job. I mean there are so many tremendous guys out there that, you know, all it takes is an opportunity and that’s what I’m working for.”
No matter how good Eberle was at Utah State, it is tough for placekickers to get drafted. Look for the German native to be a sixth or seventh round pick at best and at worst a priority free agent.