Can a kicker really be one of the 40 best players in a professional football league? Anyone who thinks the answer is no clearly hasn’t seen what Justin Medlock can do.
The native of Fremont, Calif. was a fifth-round choice of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 out of UCLA. He made 70-of-88 field goal attempts (79.5 percent) in college along with 135-of-136 extra points, catching the attention of NFL scouts.
Medlock’s tenure with the Chiefs was short-lived following a rocky start. He had replaced veteran placekicker Lawrence Tynes — who, coincidentally, had kicked for the Ottawa Renegades just three years prior — but went just three-of-six on pre-season field goal attempts.
After missing a 30-yard field goal in Week 1 of the 2007 NFL season, Medlock was cut. He signed with the St. Louis Rams in February 2008, but was released in August.
Medlock signed with the Toronto Argonauts in April 2009 and won the placekicking and punting jobs out of training camp. He connected of 40-of-46 field goal attempts (87 percent) and averaged 42.6 yards on 117 punts, again catching the attention of the NFL.
The six-foot, 205-pounder was signed to a futures contract by the Washington Football Team in February 2010 but was waived in June. The Detroit Lions claimed him off waivers, but cut him just two weeks later.
Medlock rejoined the Argos but was released after converting on seven-of-ten field goal attempts in four games. He was signed by Edmonton for the final weeks of the season but did not register a statistic.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats traded for Medlock in March 2011 and gave him the placekicking and punting duties. He played brilliantly, making 49-of-55 field goal attempts (89.1 percent) with a long of 57 yards. Named an East Division all-star, the NFL came calling again.
Signed by the Carolina Panthers in March 2012, Medlock made the team and dressed for ten games. He made seven of his first ten attempts, but was waived in November. He was a member of the Oakland Raiders for a week in August, but returned to the CFL for good in January 2014.
Medlock played two seasons with the Ticats and made 86-of-97 field goal attempts (88.7 percent) with a long of 57 yards. He was named an East Division all-star again in 2015, which led to a payday in free agency.
Mike O’Shea, who was Medlock’s special teams coordinator during his second stint in Toronto, helped bring the elite kicker to Winnipeg. Medlock has been money ever since, connecting on 205-of-228 field goal attempts (89.9 percent) with a long of 58 yards.
The CFL record books are largely dominated by CFL legends who played for more than two decades — Lui Passaglia, Paul McCallum, Paul Osbaldiston, and Troy Westwood. Medlock only has one record, kicking an all-time best 60 field goals in 2016.
With that said, there is little debate that the 2019 Grey Cup champion is one of the best specialists in CFL history. He has been an elite placekicker for a decade, while also serving as a highly-effective punter.
3DownNation is unveiling its list of the top 100 active CFL players, a project that will run through December 31, 2020. To read the criteria for player eligibility, click here. The list to date can be found below.
41. REC DaVaris Daniels, Toronto Argonauts
42. DT Micah Johnson, B.C. Lions
43. OL Shane Bergman, Calgary Stampeders
44. SAM Don Unamba, Ottawa Redblacks
45. DB Ed Gainey, Saskatchewan Roughriders
46. DB Tommie Campbell, Toronto Argonauts
47. LB Adam Bighill, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
48. REC DeVier Posey, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
49. DT Cleyon Laing, Ottawa Redblacks
50. OL Matt O’Donnell, Edmonton Football Team
51. REC Kyran Moore, Saskatchewan Roughriders
52. SAM Kenny Ladler, Free Agent
53. DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
54. SAM Dexter McCoil, Free Agent
55. OL Sean McEwen, Calgary Stampeders
56. REC Eugene Lewis, Montreal Alouettes
57. DB Greg Reid, Montreal Alouettes
58. DT Mike Moore, Edmonton Football Team
59. OL Ryker Mathews, B.C. Lions
60. DB Tunde Adeleke, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
61. LB Jameer Thurman, Free Agent
62. QB Matt Nichols, Toronto Argonauts
63. DB Jamar Wall, Calgary Stampeders
64. DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Saskatchewan Roughriders
65. REC Lemar Durant, B.C. Lions
66. OL Brendon LaBatte, Saskatchewan Roughriders
67. OL SirVincent Rogers, Edmonton Football Team
68. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Free Agent
69. DB/RET Frankie Williams, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
70. DB T.J. Lee, B.C. Lions
71. QB Zach Collaros, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
72. SAM Anthony Cioffi, Free Agent
73. DB Shaquille Richardson, Toronto Argonauts
74. REC Kamar Jorden, Calgary Stampeders
75. OL Darius Ciraco, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
76. REC Jalen Saunders, Free Agent
77. QB Dane Evans, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
78. REC Brad Sinopoli, Ottawa Redblacks
79. RET Janarion Grant, Free Agent
80. DE Avery Ellis, Ottawa Redblacks
81. DE Cordarro Law, Calgary Stampeders
82. DB Brandon Alexander, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
83. OL Jermarcus Hardrick, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
84. DB Branden Dozier, Free Agent
85. SAM Otha Foster, Saskatchewan Roughriders
86. DB Antoine Pruneau, Ottawa Redblacks
87. RB John White, B.C. Lions
88. LB Avery Williams, Ottawa Redblacks
89. LB Jovan Santos-Knox, Free Agent
90. DB Richard Leonard, Calgary Stampeders
91. REC Armanti Edwards, Edmonton Football Team
92. RB C.J. Gable, Free Agent
93. DT Mike Rose, Calgary Stampeders
94. REC S.J. Green, Free Agent
95. DB Mike Edem, Saskatchewan Roughriders
96. DE John Bowman, Montreal Alouettes
97. DB Taylor Loffler, Montreal Alouettes
98. QB Nick Arbuckle, Ottawa Redblacks
99. ST Mike Miller, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
100. DE Chris Casher, B.C. Lions