In the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions selected a punter. Thats right a punter. Well at least we got the highest ranked punter in the draft right? Wrong!!! We drafted a punter in the fifth round that wasn’t even projected to be selected on some pre-draft rankings.
So why did we draft a punter? Martin Mayhew had this to say at a draft press conference:
He’s a guy that punts, he kicks off, he holds, he’s done PATs and field goals so he’s a very versatile guy. Really good kid. I spent some time with him when he was here in the building and he’ll come in and have the opportunity to compete to be our starting punter. If you’ve got a late fifth round pick and the punters typically go in the sixth round, that might be the right time to take them before somebody else does. That’s how we felt about Sam.
I really don’t have a problem drafting a punter. But in the fifth round when this team has some many other needs. Here are a few guys who might have helped who were available in the fifth.
- Josh Evan FS, Florida – Josh was the combines top performer in the 20 yard shuttle run and clocked a 4.38 40. In 2012 he had three interceptions and 79 tackles for the Florida Gators. He can contribute on defense and on special teams. He was drafted by Jaguars in the 6th round
- Vinston Painter OT, Virgina Tech – Wouldn’t hurt to have another linemen. This kid was a top performer at the combine for his position in 40 yard dash (4.95). In comparison #1 choice Eric Fisher ‘s 40 time was 5.05. Not saying because he is faster than Fisher that makes him better but isn’t Painter a better choice than a punter here. Oh and Painter was drafted by the Broncos in the 6th round.
Some might argue that Martin Mayhew filled a need by targeting a guy and drafting him. That would really depend on the scarcity of punters available to be signed as free agents right? Only one other punter was drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. That was Jeff Locke out of UCLA who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Here is a list of other punters ranked higher than Martin that the Lions could have signed as an undrafted free agent following the draft:
- Brad Wing, LSU
- Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
- Brett Maher, Nebraska
- Ray Allen, Lousianna Tech
The Minnesota Vikings had 9 picks in the draft. Three of which were in the first round. Although still early to draft a punter it makes more sense for the Vikings in the fifth because the Vikings had extra picks early in the draft to answer team needs.
The Lions also got an extra pick by trading down. A pick they could have used to draft athletes that can help the team compete. Instead they blew it on a punter. Easily the worst pick of the Detroit Lions draft. If the Detroit Lions wanted a punter, great. But they could have gotten this punter after the draft.