Bears Insider

What Bears drafting Iowa punter Tory Taylor in fourth round means for Trenton Gill

The Bears used their first, and possibly only, Day 3 selection on big-legged Iowa punter Tory Taylor

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Bears' first, and possibly only, Day 3 selection of the 2024 NFL Draft came as a massive surprise, but also filled a key special teams need.

General manager Ryan Poles said Friday he was looking for a "gold" player with the Bears' fourth-round pick Saturday (122), and he found him in big-legged Iowa punter Tory Taylor.

In Taylor, the Bears get the 2023 Ray Guy Award winner as the nation's top punter.

Last season, Taylor kicked an NCAA-best 93 punts for 4,479 yards and an average of 48.2. Forty of his punts went 50 or more yards, while 32 were downed inside the 20, and only seven went for touchbacks.

Taylor set the NCAA single-season record, breaking a record set by Johnny Pingel in 1938.

Taylor's arrival almost certainly means bad news for incumbent punter Trenton Gill, who the Bears drafted in the seventh round of the 2022 draft.

Last season, Gill finished dead last among qualified punters in the NFL in net yards per punt at 38.0, which ultimately played a role in the Bears' decision to draft his replacement in Taylor.

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