Vipers' New S-s-sensation: XFL's Las Vegas Vipers Sign Kicker Miami University Kicker Sam Sloman
The Las Vegas Vipers have officially made some changes to their lineup, signing Sam Sloman as their new kicker to replace Bailey Giffen, who was released on April 3rd. Let's discuss that;
Sam Sloman is a 25-year-old Kicker from Roswell, Georgia, who was signed by the Vipers on April 4th, according to Nick Novak. Sloman began his collegiate career in 2016 with the Miami Redhawks, primarily playing as the team's Kickoff Specialist. He later became the starting kicker in 2017 and played well for the Redhawks during his remaining three years of eligibility, converting 47 out of 58 (81%) of his field goal attempts. His career-long was recorded from 53 yards out against Ohio in 2019. He also had an average of 61 yards over 246 kickoff attempts. In addition, Sloman was named Second-Team All-America by The Athletic and ranks second in field goals and extra points all-time for Miami.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, Sam Sloman was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams with the 248th pick. While kickers are rarely drafted in the NFL, the Rams were impressed with how Sloman performed under pressure, reporting;
"In the second half or overtime during the last two years, he went 27 out of 29. So when the score is tight or it’s getting close to the end of the game, he’s been clutch."
During his time in Los Angeles, Sloman went 8/11 (72%) on field goal attempts and 18/21 (85.7%) on PATs. Unfortunately for Sam, the Rams decided to move on after just one season and he was a Free Agent following Week 7. After an injury to their starter, the Tennessee Titans decided to sign Sloman for their Week 17 game. In his single game with the Titans, he went 5/5 on PATs and 2/2 on field goal attempts, including this 37-yard game-winning field goal that doinked off the right upright! He has since bounced around a few NFL practice squads, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers.
While I believe that Sloman will be a valuable addition to the Vipers' lineup, I do have some concerns. He is great under 40 yards and should be able to win over coaches and teammates with his consistency. He also has the leg to make a 50+ yarder if needed, although we haven't seen him attempt one since college. The one issue I have with this signing is that it may seriously affect how well the Vipers' coverage team plays on kickoff returns. They have led the league in my Coverage Teams Power Rankings since Week 4, and the unit is used to how Bailey Giffen kicks the ball. With just three games left in the season, they will now have to adapt to a new kicker and timing. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to seeing if Sloman will give the Vipers the boost they need to close out the season.
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