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Best and worst Detroit Lions special teams picks under Martin Mayhew

Martin Mayhew has been making selections for the Detroit Lions for six drafts, with the seventh coming up this week when the first round kicks off Thursday night.

His tenure as general manager has been interesting. He started with a rough roster coming off the first 0-16 season in NFL history and has constructed it into one that has made two playoff appearances, including one last season.

Along the way he’s made some smart selections, some terrible ones and a lot of obvious ones as well. On Monday, we looked at the offense. On Tuesday, we looked at the defense and today we conclude with Mayhew’s special teams selections.

KICKER (1):

Best pick: None.

Worst pick: Nate Freese (Pick No. 229, 2014)

Thoughts: He was a seventh-round pick last season and lasted three weeks before the Lions cut him after he made only 3 of 7 field goals, including none from 40 yards or more. He wasn’t producing and became a wasted pick for Detroit. Typically seventh-round selections are very hit-or-miss anyway, but the Lions could have and should have gone a different route here instead of trying to solve the kicker problem cheaply.

PUNTER (1):

Best pick: Sam Martin (Pick No. 165, 2013)

Thoughts: It might have been somewhat of a questionable pick when the Lions took Martin in the fifth round in 2013, but he has turned into one of the top young punters and kickoff men in the league. He has shanked punts at some critical times, but Pro Football Focus listed Martin as the third-best punter in the NFL last season after being No. 7 during his rookie season in 2013. Martin was also a Top 10 kickoff guy according to PFF.

Worst pick: None.