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Dustin Hopkins Takes Over Kicking Duties For Redskins

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The Redskins decided to go in a different direction with their kicking game on Monday, releasing Kai Forbath and signing Dustin Hopkins.

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden on Monday announced the team has signed kicker Dustin Hopkins, a 2013 sixth-round draft pick out of Florida State.

The Washington Redskins on Monday, Sept. 14, announced the signing of kicker Dustin Hopkins. Take a look at his NFL career in photos.

In a corresponding move, the Redskins have released kicker Kai Forbath.

While Forbath proved to be fairly accurate during his four seasons with the Redskins, Gruden said the team was in search of a "stronger leg." 

"We've got 16 regular season games, we're down 0-1, we just think for the long haul we'd like to get some better kickoffs and we think that the new kicker, if he can be close to him [Forbath] in accuracy and field goals, I think the kickoffs will put him over the edge as far as being a little better," Gruden said Monday afternoon during his press conference at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va. 

Hopkins, 24, has yet to attempt an NFL regular season field goal or extra point, but he has been on both the Buffalo Bills' and New Orleans Saints' 90-man rosters the last two seasons.

Hopkins appeared in all four preseason games for the Saints this year, converting on 3-of-5 field goal attempts while making all four of his extra point attempts.

The Florida State product also averaged 65.5 yards per kickoff with 10 touchbacks.

According to his NFL.com draft profile, Hopkins is "consistent" with "good trajectory on kicks."

"Gets them up quickly with a strong downward strike on the ball. Misses are just outside of the uprights to the left or right, not major misfires. Flashes 55-yard range with NFL-caliber height on the kicks, not line-drives. Excellent strength and height on kickoffs, times well over 4.0 seconds consistently and gets the ball to the middle or front part of the end zone even with nice trajectory," the profile says.

At Florida State, Hopkins set an NCAA scoring record for kickers with 466 points, while also establishing new school, conference (ACC) and NCAA records with 88 career field goals.

During his senior season, Hopkins averaged 10 points per game while converting on 25 field goal attempts.

Hopkins was twice named a Lou Groza Award finalist – given to the top kicker in college football – following his sophomore and junior seasons.

His career long at Florida State was a game-winning 55-yard kick to give the Seminoles a 16-13 victory over the Clemson Tigers.

The Redskins had both Kai Forbath and Ty Long on the roster during the preseason, but Long was released during the cutdown to 75 players, and Forbath was released to make room for Hopkins.

Forbath ends his Redskins career converting 60-of-69 field goal attempts (87 percent) with a long of 50 yards. Seventeen of his conversions came during the 2012 season, when he set an NFL record for the most consecutive made kicks to start a career.

He converted his first field goal attempt against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday -- a 45 yarder -- but missed on his second try from 46 yards out.

Forbath also averaged 61.7 yards on his 176 kickoffs over the last four seasons.

Hopkins will get his first test with the Redskins this Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Isaiah Pead returned three kicks for 63 yards in the Rams' 34-31 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

"We want to give him a shot here and see if we can prove our kickoff coverage," Gruden said.

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