Detroit Lions’ re-draft round 7
We’ll go backward here for effect. The Detroit Lions ended the draft by selecting a kicker, Nate Freese, from Boston College in Round 7, pick 229. Freese was a good college kicker but the pressure to perform in front of NFL fans seemed to kill whatever natural talents he had. Prior to his release, Freese was having a hard time kicking NFL extra points, the equivalent to a 33-yard field goal and a standard, easy kick for a professional kicker.
All stats and draft facts come from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise stated.
While all hindsight is an easier exercise because we can see what a player has accomplished, it isn’t difficult to say that Mayhew basically threw this pick away, as he did so many times. The saving grace of the pick was that the Detroit Lions brought Matt Prater in to compete with Freese and Prater has been near the top of NFL kickers since.
Finding a better option in the seventh round is tricky but the defensive line needed help in 2014, the depth chart here from the Ourlad’s website, and there are usually still decent options around later in the draft, although many are projects.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Freese never returned to the NFL after the Detroit Lions cut him in 2014. Many of the men drafted after Freese played valuable backup roles for at least several years that were selected after him.
We’ve selected Shelby Harris as a better option but just about anyone is a better deal than a rookie kicker who can’t make an extra point. Harris was a small-school prospect with decent measurables and has turned into a starter in Denver after spending two years with the Las Vegas (then Oakland) Raiders, stats here. Harris had 6.0 sacks and started all 16 games for the Broncos in 2019.
Here is Shelby Harris’ profile from the Draft Scout website, a frequent visit for us. The 6-2, 285-pound defensive end developed into a starter from being the 235th pick in the 2014 draft. Current Lions linebacker, Christian Jones, was an undrafted prospect out of Florida State that year, too, just as a side note.