With one of their fifth-round picks, the Cleveland Browns selected Austin Seibert, a kicker out of Oklahoma. Despite fan backlash on the Browns taking a kicker so early, Cleveland was right with their selection at No. 170.
The Cleveland Browns had a somewhat confusing 2019 NFL Draft. While they were able to grab some serious value at No. 46 overall with LSU cornerback Greedy Williams, the Browns made some odd decisions throughout the rest of the draft. But perhaps no decision was more of a fanbase head-scratcher than taking Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert in the fifth round.
It was widely thought throughout the draft that the Browns would address depth on the defensive line. The No. 170 overall pick was seemingly a lock for the Browns to take a lineman to improve on their solid core on the front four.
Perhaps Northern Illinois’ Sutton Smith or Temple’s Michael Dogbe? Instead, the Browns went with Austin Seibert, and despite the odd selection, Seibert should be Cleveland’s ice-cold kicker for years to come.
NORMAN — Kicker and punter have been a solidified position at Oklahoma for the last four years. From the time Austin Seibert arrived on campus, he handled both roles and set an NCAA scoring record for kickers in the process. But now, Seibert is gone and the Sooners have plenty to replace on special teams. The Sooners begin spring practice…
Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert kicked plenty of extra points after touchdown drives engineered by Baker Mayfield.
Now, he’ll have a chance to do the same in the NFL.
Seibert was the No. 170 overall pick in the fifth round Saturday by the Cleveland Browns.
Seibert served as both the Sooners kicker and punter during all four of his years in Oklahoma.
He became the NCAA career-leader in points for an FBS kicker with 499, also setting both Big 12 and school records for scoring by any player.
The Illinois native made 79.7 percent of his kicks during his career, with a long of 51. He made 310 of 315 extra points, including a school-record 162 consecutive.
He also averaged 41.7 yards per punt, but chose to focus on placekicking in the lead-up to the draft.
Seibert is the fourth Sooners kicker to be drafted and the first since Uwe von Schamann was taken in the seventh round in 1979.
With the No. 170 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns have selected former Oklahoma Sooners kicker and punter Austin Seibert.
I’m certain that hearing another Oklahoma Sooner will be heading to Cleveland is comforting and welcome to Brown fans after Seibert’s selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s pretty clear what direction the Cleveland Browns are heading in when one looks at their activity in the draft— they have not selected any skill position players on offense, rather they have spent those picks on defense. They have seemingly created a clear narrative that they are set on offense, trying to bolster their defense, and lastly with the selection of Austin Seibert, they are trying to improve and diversify their Special Teams. It’s no question that people tuning in to see the Baker Mayfield show should expect to see Seibert on kickoffs with his cannon of a leg. However, it remains to be seen how special he can be if he can specialize in one area of his kicking duties.
Austin’s tenure in Norman will solely be missed by the Sooners. Prior to Seibert’s arrival on campus, Oklahoma had been recruiting kickers such as Michael Hunnicutt, Jimmy Stevens, and Garrett Hartley— one of which had an NFL career. Seibert came to the program as one of the most highly recruited specialists in quite some time and he was much better than all other specialists in Norman, so Austin took care of all kicking duties. He will leave Oklahoma as the leading scorer in Oklahoma history as well as the Big XII with 499 points.
According to NFL Scouts, one of Austin’s strengths is his versatility, as he handled all kicking duties during his tenure with the Oklahoma Sooners. However, the biggest upside for Seibert is his perceived strong leg and experience in “meaningful and stress-filled contests.” One of his “weaknesses” can be blamed on quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, as he never really had the opportunity to kick field goals over fifty yards (and when he did, he was 1-3).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Mark Seibert won’t watch his son’s field goals. Sometimes he peeks, but mostly he just waits for the crowd reaction to know if the kick is good or bad.
Saturday, he admits this fact: “I’ll be nervous,” Mark said. “On the pressure kicks, I definitely shut my eyes.”
Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert needs six points to become the FBS’ all-time leading scorer among kickers, a feat he could accomplish when the No. 4-ranked Sooners face No. 1 Alabama in Saturday’s Orange Bowl.
He’s already OU and the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer, despite the workload of performing field goals, kickoffs and punts the past three seasons.
But records and accolades didn’t start all this.
It began in Seibert’s hometown of Belleville, Illinois, where Mark was born and raised and lives today, working for St. Clair County. It’s not a bad place, Seibert insists, but the pastures could be greener.
Mark helped plant that seed into his son’s mind.
“Where I’m from and our financial status, the only way that I was gonna bet out of Belleville was if I got a scholarship,” Seibert said. “That was my dad’s whole — he wanted me to get a good education. So he’s right there with me and right there with my brother. And the goal is to get my brother a free education and good education and get him out of Belleville.”
Seibert’s brother, Logan, recently finished his sophomore season at Belleville West High School. He’s the 2021 class’ sixth-ranked kicker nationally, according to Kohl’s Football Kicking and Punting Camps, which help groom high school kickers. Logan attends those camps, just like Seibert did while ascending as a recruit; the instruction isn’t free and it sometimes requires travel.
But serious choices require serious commitments, and the summer going into his freshman year, Seibert opted to focus on football and quit fall soccer, a sport his family first pushed because of his skill and strength using both feet.
The gridiron seemed to be his future.
Ever since he played for the Little Devils in little league football, Seibert has performed all three kicking duties. He kicked his first extra point at age 9, Mark said, and Seibert didn’t just enjoy using his feet.
As a youth he played quarterback, running back and some linebacker. He was Belleville West’s backup QB as a junior, and as a senior, he challenged the freshman team by playing tight end in practice. At a shade under 5 foot 9, they called him “Gronk.”
Football seemed right for him. Tackling is no kicker’s forte, but Seibert doesn’t mind it if he’s the Sooners’ last line of defense on punt or kick returns.
“I’m not going to run [anyone] down in the open field,” Seibert said. “But if someone’s running heads-up at me, I’m not afraid to get hit. If my lights go out, they go out.”
Seibert has a blunt way of putting things, and he doesn’t pull any punches when talking about what it means to kick as often as he does in college. It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone. OU will split up the duties next season after Seibert moves on.
“Work ethic, if I’m being honest,” Seibert said, asked why most kickers don’t do it. “I think that’s a mindset thing honestly. A lot of guys will just try and — ‘Oh my gosh, what did I do wrong?’ I just go out there and kick. I go out there and punt. I think it’s a mindset thing.”
His blue-collar attitude reflects onto his brother, Logan. Belleville West is graduating its punter, and he says he’ll perform all three kicking duties for the Maroons.
Somewhere down the line, maybe he’ll break records too. But that was never Mark Seibert’s initial dream for his boys.
“It has motivated me,” Logan said of his brother’s career. “It motivates me to think about going that far, about getting to that level.”