With the release of veteran kicker Shayne Graham earlier this offseason the New Orleans Saints will head into camp with two unproven youngsters trying to win the battle to be the team's starting kicker.
Zach Hocker, 6 feet and 191 pounds out of Arkansas, will be trying to beat out Dustin Hopkins, 6-2, 193 pounds from Florida State. Neither player has made a field goal in a regular-season NFL game.
Hopkins, who spent the last two games of the 2014 season on the Saints' practice squad, enjoyed a standout career at Florida State where he garnered All-American honors and set an NCAA scoring record for kickers and for field goals.
Hocker appeared in 50 career games at Arkansas from 2010-13, exiting with school records for points and points by a kicker (354), FG percentage (77.2 percent), PATs made (171), PAT attempts (173) and ﬁeld goals (61).
Payton said it: "In a perfect world you would have experience, you'd have a history, you'd know exactly what you are getting and yet I think there's a measured approach to that. Every year we tell these players as they are lining up and competing for their position just don't pay attention to the depth chart on this roster because they aren't just competing for this roster but they are competing with the other thirty one guys and so that hasn't really been a big focus, I'm anxious to see how these guys do when we get into our training camp, we get into the preseason games and we kind of go from there."
Associated Press photos from 2015 New Orleans Saints Minicamp presented by Verizon.