Thomas Fletcher Drafted 222nd Overall By the Carolina Panthers
Alabama Crimson Tide long snapper Thomas Fletcher has been selected by the Carolina Panthers with the 222nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The only long snapper on Carolina's roster is JJ Jansen, who has played in 192 career games for the Panthers, second-most in franchise history. Jansen made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and hasn't missed a game since joining the Panthers from 2009.
He may have a hard time getting onto the roster, but ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said with time, "he could be the best long snapper in the league, Mel," after his selection was announced on the broadcast.
In his four seasons at Alabama, Fletcher never had a bad snap, whether to the punter or a place kick holder, he was perfect through 55 career games for the Crimson Tide. Fletcher found himself in the official box score a few times, recording a tackle in the 2018 Iron Bowl and the 2019 opener against Duke, as well as recovering a fumble against Missouri in 2020 that set the Crimson Tide up for a field goal.
Fletcher snapped in three College Football Playoff National Championship Games, winning two, over his four-year career. Appearing in 55 career games, Fletcher was a part of 51 victories at Alabama as well as two SEC Championships.
Fletcher was recognized for his abilities, becoming just the second recipient of the Patrick Mannelly Award and being named an All-American by Rubio Long Snapping.
While Mannelly was the first true long snapper drafted into the NFL in 1981 by the Chicago Bears, Fletcher becomes the latest and extends the streak of consecutive NFL Drafts in which a long snapper was selected to seven. In total, including Fletcher, the NFL has drafted 13 long snappers since 1981.
Fletcher is the first long snapper in Alabama history to be drafted, leaving just one position, kicker, to be drafted by an Alabama player during the Nick Saban tenure.
Fletcher joins Carson Tinker of the New York Giants and Cole Mazza of the Los Angeles Chargers as Crimson Tide long snappers in the NFL.