The Buffalo Bills under head coach Sean McDermott have shuffled quite a few punters in and out of Orchard Park. The team has employed three punters over the course of McDermott’s three years with the Bills, though to be fair, most of that turnover turmoil happened in a lost 2018 season.
Buffalo has a punting competition brewing this summer, with the incumbent taking on a player whose name is pronounced the same as his (though spelled differently) for the second consecutive season. Will the team stick with the status quo, or will they go with a new face?
In today’s edition of “91 players in 91 days,” we profile one of Buffalo’s two punters on the 2020 roster.
Name: Corey Bojorquez
Height/Weight: 6’, 208 lbs
Age: 23 (24 on 9/13/2020)
Experience/Draft: 3; signed with the New England Patriots as a UDFA following the 2018 NFL Draft
College: New Mexico
Acquired: Claimed off waivers on 9/2/18
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Bojorquez enters the final year of his three-year rookie contract initially signed with New England. That deal is worth a total of $1.71 million, none of which is guaranteed. In 2020, Bojorquez carries a cap hit of $750,000.
2019 Recap: Bojorquez stayed healthy for all 17 of Buffalo’s games, including the playoffs, last season. Among all qualified punters, Bojorquez was second-to-last in total average (41.9 yards per punt) and in net average (37.7 yards per punt). Bojorquez booted more touchbacks (7) than any punter in the league other than Sam Martin, who also kicked seven. He landed 34 of his 79 punts inside the 20-yard line, which was the third-most in the league, and 26 of his punts were fair caught, which was second-best in the league. He had one punt blocked, but that was more the result of a poor blocking scheme (and lack of an audible into a better one by the personal punt protector, Kurt Coleman) in Buffalo’s Week 4 loss to New England.
Positional outlook: Bojorquez is joined by Kaare Vedvik, whose name is also pronounced “Corey.” After fending off Cory Carter last year, Bojorquez will have to vanquish another of his name in order to maintain his roster spot.
2020 Offseason: Nothing new to report.
2020 Season outlook: Bojorquez is among the weaker links on Buffalo’s roster, which is great when considering that we’ve gone from having an entire skill position group on offense that was among the league’s worst to a roster where we can complain about the punter not being elite. With that said, at least one game (Buffalo’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens) and perhaps one more (the loss to the Cleveland Browns) arguably lay at the feet of Bojorquez. Against Cleveland, kicker Stephen Hauschka seemed unhappy with the way Bojorquez was holding on field goals. Then, he shanked two key punts against the Ravens—a 35-yard punt from his own 10-yard line led to a field goal in the first quarter, and a 29-yard punt from his own 22-yard line to start the fourth quarter gave Baltimore great field position on their game-clinching touchdown drive. While that seems a little nit-picky in a game where he also hit a 67-yard punt and a 52-yard punt, it’s that kind of inconsistency that makes Bojorquez a liability. The best quality a kicker or punter can have, in my opinion, is consistency. If you can’t rely on that player to come out and do his job well every time, then he needs to be replaced. Sure, perfection is impossible, but look at that Baltimore box score and tell me what the difference between the two squads was. Bojorquez and Sam Koch both punted seven times. Bojorquez’s punts traveled 300 yards and Koch’s traveled 309. Bojorquez hit two shanks, two inside the 20, and one touchback. Koch hit two inside the 20, had one touchback, and aside from a 33-yard punt that pinned Buffalo at their own 12, hit every punt at least 39 yards. Take those two Bojorquez shanks out and we may have been celebrating a Buffalo win rather than taking a “moral victory” in playing the league’s hottest team tough. Bojorquez is no lock to make the roster in 2020.