Russell Erxleben was the highest-drafted punter in NFL history at the time and still holds the distinction to this day. Maybe, Erxleben’s struggles taught teams across the NFL a valuable lesson.
New Orleans hoped that Erxleben, a great punter and kicker at Texas, would be able to fill both roles for their team, and therefore drafted him early in the first round as a way to save a roster spot. The experiment failed spectacularly.
In his rookie season, Erxleben played just one game before pulling his hamstring, and New Orleans was forced to sign both a kicker and a punter. He did not play the rest of the year, but returned in 1980, played all 16 games, but was not the primary placekicker anymore.
He played in New Orleans through 1983 and after four years out of football, tried to return in 1987 with the Detroit Lions, but only punted once.