ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Sam Martin entered the final day of the 2013 NFL draft not sure what was going to happen. He knew he was talented. He believed he could make an NFL team. But he’s a punter and specialists are drafted at a much lower rate than those at other positions, so he just didn’t know.
He had a draft party not quite knowing whether he’d hear his name called.
Now entering his fourth season in Detroit, Martin reflected back with ESPN.com to the 2013 day when the Lions took him in the fifth round with the 137th overall pick.
“[I was] real antsy. I was watching picks, who was coming up, and then when my phone rang, I saw a Michigan area code and I saw it was Detroit,” Martin said. “Then the tears came. It was an awesome day. Had a real cool gathering with my family and friends, and thankfully I got drafted. It would have been an embarrassing party.”
Was he concerned?
“No, because I knew I had a chance to get drafted but I felt pretty good I was going to be signing somewhere,” Martin said. “Worst case, if we got a call after the draft it would have been enough to celebrate. It was a fun and good time.”
Looking back, there’s not much he would have done differently about the day. He was surrounded by his family. He got drafted, made a team and has turned into one of the better punters in the NFL. And he went to a coach he felt very comfortable with, former Lions special teams coach John Bonamego.
“Bono was one of the first coaches to work me out,” Martin said. “So it was cool I ended up coming here with him.”