The Detroit Lions will have a new kicker in 2014. That much we know with Martin Mayhew confirming that David Akers will not be re-signed.
After having success quickly turning their punting situation around by drafting Sam Martin last spring, it seemed reasonable to think the Lions would follow a similar path to find their next kicker. According to Dave Birkett’s piece in today’s Detroit Free Press, the liklihood that the Lions next kicker is already on the roster is stronger than some, including me, initially believed.
Giorgio Tavecchio and John Potter were added to the roster shortly after the season ended and it sounds like the Lions may be comfortable letting those two battle for the position. Birkett quotes former NFL kicker Michael Husted who has spent time working with Tavecchio (and Havard Rugland) in which Husted expresses confidence in Tavecchio’s ability to compete and possibly win the job:
“I think he’s in an ideal situation where it’s going to be he and John Potter battling it out, and they’ll let one of those guys come out on top. And if they’re getting the job done then, hopefully, they’ll stick with that person and let some young blood come in and play in the NFL.”
If the Lions are reasonably confident Tavecchio or Potter can do the job, they can forget about using a draft pick on a kicker. While a kicker would likely be a late draft pick, the ability to use it on another position isn’t a small thing with this draft class regarded as one of the deepest in memory.
Potter appeared in six games for the Buffalo Bills in 2012 as their kickoff specialist and played three games for the Washington Redskins last season. Potter was 2-2 on field goals against the Lions in week 3. Tavecchio has not appeared in an NFL game after going undrafted in 2012, but he has spent training camp time with the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers.