The end of the sixth round presented us with a short run on long snappers.
Alabama long snapper Thomas Fletcher came off the board at 222nd overall to the Carolina Panthers, and three picks later, Michigan snapping specialist Camaron Cheeseman went to Washington at 225.
Why is this significant, you ask? Well, because long snappers do about as much as kickers, except they fill the role in the kicking game that isn't glamorous. Fourth and long in a one-score game deep in your own territory? Better have a good snapper to get the ball there on target and on time. Lining up for a game-winning field goal in a driving rain? Hope you invested in the guy delivering the ball.
The Panthers did that with Fletcher, the 2020 Patrick Mannelly Award winner (given to the nation's top long snapper) who delivered rockets to Alabama punters from his freshman year through his senior season. While the Crimson Tide stayed at or near the top of college football for much of the last four years, Fletcher was there, toiling away in the shadows and doing his job better than any other in the nation. He'll be expected to do the same in Carolina.
As for Cheeseman, get NFL Shop on Line 1. You'd be hard pressed to find a better name on the back of a jersey in the NFL this season, and he's pretty darn good at the job, too. Cheeseman handled every snap in his final two seasons at Michigan (2018 and 2019) before opting out due to COVID-19 in 2020, finishing his collegiate career by receiving an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The Columbus-area native who moved north to join the dark side (in the view of Ohio State fans) has seen his decision pay off with his selection Saturday.
As the NFL Network broadcast noted after this pair of selections, these guys tend to stick around forever. This isn't just a throwaway pick by either Carolina or Washington -- it's an investment, even if it's not as trendy as cryptocurrency.