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Can Caleb Shudak push Randy Bullock for Titans kicking job?

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

One of the more intriguing position battles the Tennessee Titans may experience throughout training camp and the preseason could occur at kicker. Randy Bullock is the in-house favorite, but Bullock may encounter competition from undrafted free agent Caleb Shudak. The Titans signed Shudak as a UDFA following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. Shudak was excellent for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2021, converting 24-of-28 field goal attempts. His 2021 field goal percentage of 85.7 percent ranks fourth-best in Iowa’s single season record books. Shudak’s 108 points scored in 2021 ranks as fifth-best single season scoring total in school history.

Bullock returns for a second season in Tennessee after outperforming his expectations last season. Bullock was originally signed by the Titans last September following an injury to Sam Ficken, who was the early favorite to claim Tennessee’s kicking job in 2021. Bullock ultimately went 26-of-31 on field goal attempts while also making 42-of-45 extra point attempts. Bullock finished the 2021 season with 120 points, which was the second-highest total of his career and the ninth-highest in franchise history. Bullock also made three game-winning field goals in 2021 (at Seattle, at Indianapolis, vs San Francisco), proving he’s capable of maintaining composure in high-pressure situations.

Bullock signed a two-year extension worth $4,680,000, including a $1,200,000 signing bonus, $1,200,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $2,340,000, via Spotrac.

In theory, Shudak is capable of winning Tennessee’s kicking job. Factors that may work against him include that Titans General Manager Jon Robinson awarded Bullock with a two-year contract as opposed to a one-year offer. It makes Bullock’s contract slightly more difficult to part ways with. A two-year contract also signals their overall belief in Bullock as their kicker.

Shudak also suffered a setback in his attempt to claim Tennessee’s kicking job when he appeared to suffer a right leg injury during organized team activities (OTAs) on June 7. Shudak was later unable to practice during mandatory minicamp, which included on-field practices on June 14 and 15.

Remaining healthy is of the utmost importance for an undrafted free agent to make his claim to a roster spot. If Shudak hopes to receive a legitimate opportunity, he’ll have to be healthy and available once the Titans return for training camp in late July. Luckily for him, there’s plenty of time between now and then.

Bullock is the current favorite, but Shudak could make ground via strong training camp and preseason performances.