Detroit Lions’ concern level at kicker, punter and long snapper

As talented as the Detroit Lions‘ roster is going into the 2024 NFL season, the team does have a few question marks when it comes to their specialists.

The Lions are bringing back punter Jack Fox, kicker Michael Badgley and long snapper Scott Daly, but the team has provided competition for two of those spots, with the signings of a pair of undrafted free agents in long snapper Hogan Hatten and kicker James Turner.

After checking out the concern levels for every position group on offense (here) and defense (here), we’re now doing the same for kicker, punter and long snapper, ranging from none to high.

Lions’ concern levels for specialists

Punter: Low

Jack Fox’s net yards per punt has gone down in each of the last three seasons, and his gross yards per punt has decreased in each of the last two. However, at least some of that likely has to do with the fact that he isn’t regularly kicking from as deep in his own territory as he once did because of the Lions’ talented offense.

Fox did see a vast improvement in his percentage of punts inside the 20 last year, going from 26.9% in 2022 to 45.6% in 2023, which was a new career-high. Fox is as reliable as they come in the NFL.

Kicker: High

The Lions currently have a competition between veteran Michael Badgley and UDFA James Turner. In the most recent open practice of OTAs, Turner outdid Badgley, so the veteran is far from running away in this competition.

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Badgley has been unreliable on longer kicks during his career, and while special teams coordinator Dave Fipp did say Badgley has shown improved leg strength this offseason, we’ll have to see it in a game to really believe it.

Turner is a total wild card being that he’s a rookie, and the jury is still very much out on his ability to make longer kicks in the NFL after his college long was 50. He has shown an ability to make them in practice, but doing so in an actual game is a different animal entirely.

Long snapper: Medium

Detroit brought in UDFA Hogan Hatten to offer some competition for Scott Daly, who has been with the team since 2021 but saw his 2023 campaign end early due to injury.

After some hiccups over the first two years, Daly has settled into the job. However, in the most recent open practice of OTAs, the veteran struggled while Hatten was solid, according to Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon:

It’s worth noting the long snapper battle has some heat. Veteran Scott Daly had poor snaps on one of Badgley’s misses, and holder Jack Fox really had to work on a couple other ones to get it set. UDFA Hogan Hatten didn’t get many reps but was perfect on his FG snaps.

Daly should be able to win the job, but he’s got to have better days than the one he just had if he wants to secure it. It goes without saying that the Lions would have a question mark at the position if the rookie wins the starting job.

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