Patriots selecting Justin Rohrwasser in NFL Draft was surprise to even the kicker himself

“We found the first player we don’t have footage of, it’s Justin Rohrwasser, a kicker out of Marshall.” -Trey Wingo on ESPN/NFL Network draft broadcast.

Not only was the official NFL Draft show surprised Marshall kicker Justin Rohrwasser was selected by the Patriots at No. 159 overall in Round 5 of the NFL Draft, so was Rohrwasser himself.

“In his mind, he was thinking the draft would go by and he would get an offer as a free agent, something like that,” John Barber, Rohrwasser’s coach at Holy Trinity High School, said via phone this week. “Getting drafted was a very pleasant, happy surprise for him.”

Given the Patriots lost Stephen Gostkowski this offseason, it wasn’t a surprise they selected a kicker, but Rohrwasser was the first one of the entire draft selected and he wasn’t on most draft experts lists of kickers who could be selected. 

In fact, Dane Bruger of The Athletic didn’t even have him listed in his draft guide that included 10 kickers.

At Marshall last fall, Rohrwasser went 18-for-21 on field goal attempts with a long of 53 yards, while missing one extra point in 36 attempts. As a junior, he made 15-of-21 field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards and made 44-of-46 extra point attempts. This came after he transferred from the University of Rhode Island. He played two seasons at the school where he made 15-of-20 field goal attempts.

Barber believes Rohrwasser's experience in high school as a quarterback his senior year has helped him perform in pressure situations and now kicking in general in the NFL.

"Pressure-wise and things like that, he’s pretty laid back I found," he said. "He enjoys that moment. He enjoys having the chance to do those things. That and when he played quarterback, nothing really seemed to bother him. He just went about his business and did his thing. He played wide receiver and I moved him to quarterback and he did a nice job at it.”

His coach said he missed one out of 13 or 14 field goal attempts his senior year.

While he was also a receiver and quarterback in high school, Rohrwasser always wanted to be a kicker. He worked with multiple kicking coaches over the summers while growing up, and in the winter kicked in a batting cage at the school with Barber.

“It was always a goal of his (to be a NFL kicker), but I think he realized it when he got to Marshall and being successful there,” Barber said.

Now with the Patriots, Rohrwasser will be tasked with replacing Gostkowski, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. Barber acknowledged Rohrwasser is a a little nervous about that, but believes he will be just fine.

“He is going to have fun with it, honestly,” he said. “That is just his personality. He is going to give his all to be successful and do what is asked of him from the coaching staff and everybody. He’s a kid you ask him to do something, he goes and does it. I found that early in our relationship. 

“He’s nervous, he’s anxious, but he is excited to get started and get on the field with the rest of his teammates and show what he can do.”