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2019 Position Breakdown: Special teams

The good: Veteran kicker Matt Prater continues to be as steady as they come in the field-goal kicking department. The 13-year veteran was 26-of-31 kicking field goals this season and 35-of-36 on extra points.

Prater, 35, passed Lions legend Jason Hanson this season in career 50-yard-plus kicks. Prater's 53 field goals from 50-plus are the second most all time. He now trails only former Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski (58) for that distinction.

Prater continues to be one of the consistently best kickers in the league year after year.

Sam Martin had a bit of a bounce-back campaign in 2019, seeing his punting average (45.3) and net punting average (41.8) improve over his 2018 numbers.

Miles Killebrew and Jalen Reeves-Maybin established themselves as core special teamers. Killebrew finished fourth in the NFL in special teams tackles (15). Reeves-Maybin's 13 special teams tackles were the fifth most.

Jamal Agnew also got back to his All-Pro form from a couple seasons ago. Detroit's kickoff and punt-return man returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown this season.

View photos of the Detroit Lions' special teams from the 2019 season.

The bad: Detroit's special teams struggled with penalties, especially early in the year. Detroit's 19 penalties on special teams were the sixth most in the NFL this season. Those penalties cost Detroit 179 yards of field position.

The Lions finished 13th in total DVOA special teams score by Football Outsiders, right around the middle of the pack in the league.

The team will have new special teams systems in place in 2020 as the team moved on from John Bonamego as special teams coordinator this offseason and hired former Bengals special teams assistant Brayden Coombs to head up their special teams.

Key stat: Opponents averaged only 4.5 yards per punt return this season with no touchdowns as Detroit had the second best punt coverage unit in football. The NFL average this season for punting average was 7.6 yards per return.

That also extended into kickoff coverage for the Lions. Detroit ranked in the top 10 in kickoff coverage too, with opponent average starting field position at the 25.5 yard line. Detroit had one big lapse in Washington allowing a kickoff return touchdown to the Redskins that played a factor in that defeat.

Free agents: Martin, long snapper Don Muhlbach and Killebrew are all undrafted free agents this offseason.

Muhlbach said after the season he's not done playing yet and he plans to be back for a 17th season.

Killebrew will likely garner some attention on the open market. He's become one of the league's better special teams cover men over the last couple seasons. Maybe someone gives him a chance to play defense, too.

While Martin's numbers were up from his 2018 totals, those numbers are considerably off from his career marks of 48.5 (average) and 44.2 (net average) set in 2016.

The draft: The Lions could be in a position, depending on what happens with Martin in free agency, to draft a punter at some point late in the draft. Braden Mann (Texas A&M), Alex Pechin (Bucknell) and Joseph Charlton (South Carolina) are some of the top punters heading into the draft.

MVP: It was an eighth straight season Prater converted better than 80 percent of his field goal attempts. He's been as consistent as they come over the last six years in Detroit.

Most improved: I'll give the nod to Martin, who bested his 2018 averages in both average and net average.

Quotable: "I don't know how it works, how it plays out," Martin said of his free-agent status this offseason. "Not really thinking about it. You guys are making me think about it. I haven't thought about it, I haven't had a conversation with my agent. It's just been rest and relax and we'll talk about it when it starts to happen."

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