“I was sitting around with some of the guys today at practice, looking around at each other like, ‘Man, this is the NFL,’” Hocker said after Saturday’s morning Redskins rookie minicamp practice. “You know, you go from junior high, then high school, four years of college, and finally you’re getting to the point that you reached so hard for.”
At Arkansas, the soccer-style kicker posted all-time school bests for points by a kicker (354), field goal percentage (77.2), PATs made (171), PATs attempted (173) and field goals (61).
After watching Hocker in rookie minicamp practices, Gruden said he was “everything we expected.”
“He’s a very good kicker – very good college kicker,” Gruden said. “The rookie kickers in the NFL, not many of them have had a lot of success, but we have high hopes for him.”
Hocker’s was brought in to compete with Redskins incumbent kicker
“We have a good field-goal kicker here [in Forbath], but the ability [Hocker] has with that strong leg is an added dimension for kick-offs, and touchbacks are very, very important,” Gruden said. “We’re going to have competition, like I said, at every position and kicker is no different, so we will see how things go and how things transpire in the preseason, how [Hocker] handles the pressure, and only time will tell in that regard.”
But before that competition really gets underway, Hocker said he’s taking the time now to appreciate the opportunity he’s been given.
He said he intentionally got away from the TV during the later rounds of the draft, but rejoiced with family and friends when he got that call from the Redskins.
“It was crazy – kickers usually don’t get drafted,” said Hocker, who was the first kicker taken in the 2014 NFL Draft. “Fortunately enough I got a call from you guys, and from there it’s been a big celebration. I’ve just been looking forward to this day.”