Former Westlake High School, and University of Texas, place kicker Justin Tucker is the best player on the Baltimore Ravens. And, not only is he their top rated member of the roster; he’s their most valuable.
Coming into their Week 10 game agains the winless Cleveland Browns, Tucker has been perfect on the season. This continues a pace that the former Longhorn has blazed since coming into the league in 2012.
According to Pro Football Reference, Tucker ranks second on all-time list for Field Goal percentage at 89.286%. That’s an astonishing stat line of over 72 games where he’s gone 150 for 168 while only missing one field goal attempt inside of 40 yards, and never missing a kick inside of 30.
This season, with the Ravens at 4-4, Tucker has been a perfect 20 for 20 with four made attempts coming from 50 yards or more. Over Baltimore’s eight games every one of them have been decided by a touchdown or less. With the margin of victory, or defeat, being a razor thin line having someone as reliable as Tucker is vital to them having a chance to be victorious each week.
The Ravens came into the year with Tucker making a threat that he would leave the team if they did not sign the kicker to an extension. His agent let the Ravens know that if the sides couldn’t come to a deal before the season started that he was going to leave the team. Luckily for Ravens fans the team came to their senses and signed him to a four-year $16.8 million contract.
Baltimore General Manager Ozzie Newson said about the deal, “Justin has become a cornerstone for our team, and we are happy to get this contract completed. What is good for the Ravens right now is that we have our Pro Bowl special teams group — [punter] Sam [Koch], [long snapper] Morgan [Cox] and Justin — signed through the next three seasons.” (CBS Sports)
Tucker has been voted the team’s MVP once before, achieving the honor after their 2013 season. A year where he was selected to his only Pro Bowl and was a First-Team All-Pro. That year he went 38-41 and booted a career long field goal of 61 yards.
This year, Tucker kicked his 12th career game-winning field goal when the Ravens beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 19-17. The kick was his eighth that pushed the Ravens to victory while being on the road. A win that showed how valuable he is to the team as Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs put it, “This is the NFL, and when games come down to the final possession, you want a man that’s clutch,” Suggs said. “You want a quarterback with ice in his veins, and you [darn] well want a kicker with ice in his veins.” (Baltimore Ravens)
The Westlake graduate has been doing this since Friday nights at Chaparral Stadium. With Tucker just coming into the prime of his career, we’ll be able to see him continue to propel the Ravens to victory for the next decade if not longer.