A handful of pundits believe that former Cyclone Kirby Van Der Kamp is the top-ranked punter entering into this weekend’s NFL Draft. Unlike most pro prospects, bench press reps and blazing 40-yard dash times don’t do much for elite punters though. So besides a trip to the prestigious Senior Bowl, what has Van Der Kamp been doing to prepare himself for a career in the NFL?
If you guessed yoga (huh?), you’re spot on.
“I did it off and on throughout my career but this year is when I started doing it consistently,” Van Der Kamp told CycloneFanatic.com. “It really helps out with flexibility. I can kick the ball easier because of that flexibility and added strength. It’s also been fun doing it with friends”
Interesting. Who woulda thunk it?
The pre-draft process is grueling for every athlete coming out of college but it is maddening for specialists. The reasoning behind that is simple to understand. There are only 32 punting jobs in the NFL. A lot of great punters never see the pros. It’s all about skill (of course), timing and quite a bit of luck.
“It’s a tough business,” Van Der Kamp said. “Punters aren’t turned over as often. Spots are limited and people can stick around. There are teams out there who have dropped punters and are out there looking for a punter. It’s just kind of a waiting game and I’ll be waiting for that call on Saturday.”
Van Der Kamp, a West Des Moines native, is being realistic about his chances of being drafted this weekend. In his mind, it probably won’t happen. However, it doesn’t mean that the former Cyclone won’t eventually play ball in the pros.
“My expectation is to be picked up as a free agent on Saturday,” Van Der Kamp said. “Of course, I can hope to be picked up in the draft but I’m trying to be realistic here. This year, there are more juniors coming out so it will be harder this year to be picked up as a punter. Team wise, it is hard to say because they all play games within themselves. They try not to give away what they are thinking.”
Van Der Kamp spent the majority of his time preparing for the draft in Ames working out with former Cyclones and current Iowa State graduate assistant in strength and conditioning, Brett Bueker.
If he does get drafted or picked up as a free agent on Saturday, Van Der Kamp is mentally prepared for the real work that is just around the corner.
“A lot of people think that once you get drafted that you are on a team. That doesn’t do anything,” Van Der Kamp said. “It just means that they want you to come in and fight for a spot that is available. The real work starts once you know what team you are on.”
Be sure to check out CycloneFanatic.com all weekend long for draft/free agent signing updates.