Ravens’ Justin Tucker tops kicker rankings but will face steep competition in AFC North

Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Much ink has already been spilled on how good Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is, but his AFC North rivals are coming in hot in 2022.

Tucker, an indisputable lock for the Hall of Fame, is widely considered the best NFL kicker of all time, and no one would be surprised if he broke more records this upcoming season.

His 66-yarder against the Detroit Lions in 2021 ranks up there as one of the greatest moments in sports history, and like fine wine, Tucker somehow seems to be getting better with age.

Last season, Tucker led the league in field goal percentage (94.6 percent) and made every one of his extra-point attempts. He’s as clutch as they come, too, as Tucker has completed 58 straight field-goal attempts in either the fourth quarter or overtime to help the Ravens win crucial games.

So when we say Tucker may face stiff competition in the league, take it with a grain of salt. Tucker’s leg will continue bailing out the Ravens this year and many more years to come — that much is a verifiable constant.

This season, however, rival AFC North kickers could give Tucker a run for his money.

CBS Sports’ John Breech ranked the league’s top-10 kickers in 2022 and Tucker was unsurprisingly No. 1 on the list:

"“Being a great kicker in the NFL comes down to one main thing, and that’s the ability to make field goals. No one does that better than Tucker. Over the course of his career, he’s made 91.1% of his kicks, which makes him the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Tucker’s accuracy numbers would be even higher if the Ravens didn’t regularly trot him out for crazy kicks.”"

Breech also picked Pittsburgh Steelers’ Chris Boswell and Cincinnati Bengals’ Evan McPherson as the second-best and eight-best kickers respectively, which means three AFC North players were included in the top-10 rankings.

Ravens’ Justin Tucker reigns as the No. 1 kicker in the league with AFC North rivals not far behind

Should Tucker be worried about Boswell dethroning him for the No. 1 spot? Absolutely not.

But it’s still worth noting that Boswell and McPherson are excellent kickers in their own right, so the Ravens may not have Tucker as a game-changing advantage when facing their division rivals.

Boswell was nearly run out of Pittsburgh when he completed just 65 percent of his field goals in 2018 but has since worked his way up to becoming one of the most reliable kickers in the league.

In each of the past three seasons, he has made 90 percent or more of his field goals, a higher completion rate than even the G.O.A.T. Tucker himself.

One of those made field goals was against Baltimore in Week 18 of the 2021 season, punching the Steelers a ticket to the playoffs while the Ravens trudged home early.

As for Bengals’ Evan McPherson, he put together one of the most impressive rookie seasons for a kicker in league history and boasts an incredibly powerful leg, leading the NFL with nine field goals of 50 yards or more in 2021.

During the Bengals’ deep playoff run, McPherson couldn’t miss and made 14-of-14 field goals, two of which were game-winners. Like Tucker, McPherson set a number of franchise and league records last year, and he’s only entering his second year in the NFL.

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The Ravens need not be worried, just mindful. Tucker’s decade-long resume easily trumps that of both Boswell and McPherson, but it’s becoming apparent he’s not the only great kicker on the block anymore.