The Chicago Bears made five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, but didn’t choose a kicker. But before you start penning your angry letters, just know that they didn’t waste any time scooping one up in the undrafted free agent market.
— Kohl's Kicking Camps (@KohlsKicking) April 27, 2019
John Baron II joins the kicking competition at Halas Hall, as Kohl’s Kicking Camps announced that he will sign with the team. The Kohl’s Kicking Camps train numerous NFL kickers and punters. Among them are successful kickers such as Wil Lutz (Saints), Jake Elliott (Eagles), Harrison Butker (Chiefs), and Pat O’Donnell (hey, we know that guy!)
Baron played his college ball at San Diego State and was one of the most decorated kicking prospects of this draft class. He was a two-time Lou Groza Award semi-finalist and won five of his six Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week awards last season. Being the best special teams performer five times in 12 games will definitely get you noticed.
Baron went 50-for-60 on field goals and missed just two extra points (135-for-137) during his college career. His 83.3 percent career success rate was respectable, but it’s a bit troubling to see his field goal percentages go from 91.3 percent as a sophomore and 80 percent as a junior to 77.3 percent as a senior. HOWEVER, Baron nailed all five of his attempts from 50+ yards – which is worth noting after hearing GM Ryan Pace reiterate how much he values leg strength in a kicker after parting ways with Cody Parkey earlier in the offseason.
Another fun nugget about Baron can be found at his college profile page, which notes that he was 5-for-6 on field goal tries in the fourth quarter when the game was within three points. Two of those attempts were successful tries from 50+ yards away. A big-legged clutch kicker is something any Bears fan can wrap their arms around.