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2020 position breakdown: Special teams

The good: There was a lot to like about Detroit's special teams in 2020. The unit finished third in Rick Gosselin’s annual ranking of all 32 of the league's special teams units.

First-year punter Jack Fox finished third in the NFL in punting average (49.1) and second in net average (44.8) – both franchise records – and earned his first Pro Bowl selection and a Second Team All-Pro selection.

Jamal Agnew was second in punt-return average (12.7 yards) and fourth in kickoff-return average (28.0). He returned a punt for a touchdown Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay, which was his fifth return touchdown since entering the NFL in 2017, the most of any returner in the league over that span.

Detroit's coverage units were some of the best in the league. Opponents averaged just 5.5 yards per punt return last season, the third best mark in the league. Miles Killebrew had 12 special teams tackles to lead those units, which was top seven in the league.

In Week 17, kicker Matt Prater notched his 59th career 50-plus-yard field goal, which passed Sebastian Janikowski for the all-time lead in NFL history. Prater won the game for Detroit Week 10 against Washington with a 59-yard game-winning field goal.

The bad: Prater did have some struggles with accuracy in 2020. He was 21-of-28 kicking field goals this past season. The seven missed field goals were the most of his career, and his 75 percent make percentage ranked 25th in 2020. Prater also missed three extra points (38-of-41).

Key stat: Talk about clutch. Prater is now 22-of-22 in his career on game-winning or go-ahead field goals with two minutes or less in the fourth quarter or overtime. He is 16-of-16 in regulation and six-of-six in overtime.

Free agents: New Lions general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell have a lot of decisions to make this offseason regarding Detroit's special teams units.

Prater, Killebrew, Agnew, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, long snapper Don Muhlbach and Tony McRae, all key contributors on special teams, are all unrestricted free agents.

Prater has said he'd like to re-sign with Detroit. That seems like a real possibility, even with the team signing Matthew Wright to a futures deal.

Agnew has been one of the most dynamic kick returners the last four seasons. Detroit could try to re-sign him, especially with his move to receiver, a position the Lions are thin at.

Will Muhlbach, 39, get an 18th season as Detroit's long snapper?

Draft: Could the Lions look to add a young kicker late in the draft? If Prater leaves in free agency, the odds increase. Evan McPherson (Florida), Quinn Nordin (Michigan), Blake Lynch (Kansas State) and Brandon Ruiz (Mississippi State) are a few names who teams could look at drafting on Day 3.

MVP: There are a number of players to choose from here, but the way Fox stepped up and played in his first season as Detroit's punter was really phenomenal. He had the second highest hang time in the game on punts and was top three in gross and net average.

Quotable: "I think we had a good year on the punt team, but I think I left a few yards out there. I think I left some meat on the bone," Fox said. "There's a bunch of different aspects of punting I have plenty of room to get better at and that's kind of my focus this offseason."

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