BOSTON (CBS) — When the Patriots traded up to draft a punter in the fifth round Saturday afternoon, many wondered if there was something unique about Jake Bailey.
He was one of college football’s best punters during his career at Stanford, but the Patriots already have a great punter in Ryan Allen. And Bailey isn’t even a left-footed punter, like just about every other punter Bill Belichick has ever employed.
So is Bailey ambidextrous of the feet (commonly know as ambipedal in the world of soccer)? No. No he cannot kick with both legs, but it’s something he’s willing to try.
That’s one of the many things he told reporters after being drafted by the Patriots on Saturday (transcript provided by Patriots):
Q: Were you at all aware of Bill Belichick’s history with left-footed punters?
JB: Yeah, I’ve been aware of [his] history. You guys have a fantastic special teams unit and I think there was some faith in bringing me in. So, I’m really excited to get to work with you guys and learn how to get it done the Patriots’ way.
Q: So you’re not a secret lefty?
JB: I am not, unfortunately.
Q: We were thinking maybe you could punt with both legs.
JB: I could try it out probably.
Q: Did you have any inclination that the Patriots were interested in you?
JB: I had no inclination that the Patriots were really going to be the team at the end of the day. I remember talking to Coach [Joe] Judge, the special teams coordinator, at the combine and I was really impressed with him. I liked him a lot, but I had no idea that the Patriots were going to be my landing spot. There’s been a few other teams that had been interested in drafting a punter this year. Obviously, the 49ers just drafted a guy in the fourth round. I’m just so happy that I saw my name come across the TV.
Q: Are you familiar with Bill Belichick’s affinity for special teams and punters in general?
JB: I am, a little bit. I, obviously, can learn a lot more and I’m excited to learn a lot more from him. At Stanford football we had kind of a similar affinity to using our specialists to make sure we can maximize the amount of field position we can gain each time the ball is in play. I’m excited to see how the similarities and differences are at the Patriots compared to Stanford.
Q: I saw you had an 84-yard punt versus California. What was that like?
JB: That was a pretty fun play for me. I kind of just put the ball up into the jet stream and the wind kind of took it a little bit and the returner didn’t catch it. It was a really fun play. Definitely one for my highlight film.
Q: How did you get started with punting as a kid?
JB: I actually got started as a placekicker. I didn’t kick or punt at all my freshman year of high school. Starting my sophomore year, there was an opening at the JV spot, so I started being a kicker there because I used to play soccer a lot when I was a kid. I ended up having a little bit of talent for it and a local specialist coach named Michael Husted came on and became our high school’s special teams coordinator and kind of fostered me along and really taught me what it takes, and then senior year of high school I began punting. I really learned the ropes of punting, the in’s and out’s, from my Stanford special teams coordinator, Coach Pete Alamar. Yeah, I credit a lot, all of my development as a punter, to him.
Q: When you talked to Coach Judge did you talk about kicking and punting or just punting?
JB: We didn’t really talk about that. He said, “We’re really excited to have you. Can’t wait to get you in the building.”
Q: When did you realize that the NFL would be a legitimate possibility for you?
JB: I kind of realized when – I remember the exact day – Coach [David] Shaw called me when I was driving around in my car at Stanford and he said, “Jake, I just got a phone call. You got invited to the Senior Bowl.” That was kind of the day that I was like, “Holy crap, this could be really real.” That was kind of the memory I have of that.
Q: If this hadn’t all come to fruition, what do you think you’d be doing now?
JB: I’m not sure. I’ve been on this path for a while. I’ve wanted to be an NFL punter for a really long time. This has been what I’ve been working for for the past four years in college and a few years before that in high school, too. This has been my eventual goal for the last 10 years, I guess, of my life. I’m really excited to kind of get into you guy’s building and figure out what the Patriots are all about.
Q: How familiar are you with Ryan Allen, and what are your thoughts about coming in here and competing with him?
JB: I know he’s an awesome punter. I don’t know much about him. I have a lot of respect for any NFL punter there is. I’m just excited to get to learn from him and get out there and compete.
Q: What are the worst conditions you’ve ever kicked in?
JB: I played in a snow game against Washington State. That was a pretty terrible environment. It doesn’t faze me at all.
Q: What have you heard about the New England area in general, and what are you expecting from such a big move?
JB: I’ve heard football is King. I know your fan base is one of the best in the nation. I have a lot of friends from Stanford that are from the East coast area, Boston area, so I’m excited to kind of get to know their background a little bit more by going back there, and I know they’re going to be back there after college, too. It’ll be good having a good friend group in the close vicinity.
Q: Did you hold on field goals and point-after attempts?
JB: I did.
Q: Did you have a chance to notice how many punts there were in Super Bowl LIII? Does that get you fired up?
JB: Oh, it got me fired up. I remember watching the game and all of my friends were kind of like, “What the heck is going on,” and I was glued to the TV. It was one of my favorite football games of all time to watch.
Q: When you talked to teams, how much did you talk about kicking off as well, and is that something that you would like to do?
JB: Yeah, I would love to be able to do that. It’s been a part of my game ever since I’ve been at Stanford. It’s something I would like to continue. A lot of NFL teams really value a punter that can also kickoff because it kind of helps out the kicker if he’s getting old or something or doesn’t have a strong kickoff leg, so whatever happens, I’ll be super happy with it.