Tennessee Titans rookie kicker Caleb Shudak was activated off of the PUP list by the Titans on Tuesday, as the kicking situation for Sunday’s game vs. Cincinnati is “to be determined,” per Mike Vrabel.
Now, if you’ve never heard of Shudak, it’s hard to blame you. The undrafted rookie kicker from the University of Iowa was brought in by the Titans following the 2022 NFL Draft to compete with veteran Randy Bullock during training camp, but Shudak never made it that far. He went on the shelf during OTA’s before he could really catch on with Titans fans.
Shudak may not have made an impression on Titans fans yet, but he has certainly made his impression on the team.
Shudak’s undisclosed leg injury landed him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List during Organized Team Activities over the summer and, for a while, there was fear that he may never recover. Shudak told the media on Tuesday that he feared his kicking career was over after sustaining the injury. He wasn’t making much progress, and usually, team’s would discard the undrafted and injured rookie kicker.
“With the NFL being a business, my first thought was ‘this might be it’,” Shudak told the media.
But the Titans stuck it out with Shudak. What he showcased while healthy over the summer gave them enough reason to keep him around to compete for the job when he returned. Bullock has handled the starting duties for the first half of the season while Shudak worked to get back out on the field behind closed doors.
Now, with Bullock aiding a right calf injury suffered during pregame warmups vs. Denver, Shudak is making a return to the practice field, and bringing a new element to the Titans’ kicking game.
The one thing Shudak can bring to the Titans’ kicking game is range. He has a big leg that can hit from 50+ yards with ease and expand the definition of scoring position for the Titans offense.
Shudak holds the Iowa Hawkeyes program record for career field goal percentage (minimum 25 attempts) at 82.8 percent. During his senior season at Iowa, he went a perfect 36-36 on extra points, while hitting on 24-28 field goal attempts, including 4-6 from 50+ yards.
Bullock has only attempted one 50-yard field goal in his two seasons with the Titans.
Easily forgotten because of his preseason injury, Shudak had a legitimate chance to win the Titans’ kicking job before the season. Now that he has returned to health with Bullock battling a calf injury, we may see Tennessee make a change.
The Titans have long needed a kicker that can hit with regularity from 50+ yards out, and Shudak could be that guy.
Officially listed at 5’7″ and 177 pounds, Shudak is small in stature. But the big leg is all that counts.