CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns made the rare decision to keep a rookie punter and first-year kicker in the same special teams room when training camp broke in August, but despite struggles with consistency at points during the season, both Jamie Gillan and Austin Seibert earned recognition for their play.
Gillan and Seibert were named to the 2019 Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) All-Rookie Team Tuesday. Gillan was one of only two undrafted free agents to earn PFWA All-Rookie status in 2019, along with New Orleans Saints punt returner Deonte Harris.
It is the second consecutive year in which the Browns had multiple players honored with selection to the PFWA All-Rookie Team, as quarterback Baker Mayfield and Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward earned the accolade following the 2018 season.
After a standout career at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Gillan earned his way onto the Browns’ 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent and unseated a Pro Bowl-caliber punter, Britton Colquitt, along the way by improving on his holding and producing well throughout the offseason program, training camp and in preseason games.
Gillan finished his first NFL season with 63 punts for 2,913 yards, an average of 46.2 yards per kick, with only five touchbacks and 28 landing inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Gillan had a long punt of 71 yards.
During the 2019 season, Gillan was sixth in the AFC in punting average, tied for fifth in net average (41.6 yards per punt) and tied for seventh in the conference in punts landing inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Gillan was honored with the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month Award for September and AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in Week 2, when he landed five punts inside the 20-yard line in a 23-3 win at the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Seibert was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft after playing his college ball at the University of Oklahoma, and despite inconsistencies during the offseason program, training camp and the preseason, he won the job over second-year incumbent Greg Joseph.
Seibert converted all 15 of his field goal attempts under 40 yards, as well as a nine-of-12 mark between 40 and 49 yards. On attempts of at least 50 yards, Seibert went one for two.
Overall, Seibert converted 25 of his 29 field goal attempts (86.2 percent) and 30 of his 35 extra point tries (85.7 percent) to go along with 30 touchbacks on 75 kickoffs with one punt on a fake that travelled 37 yards and landed inside the 20-yard line.