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Jason Hanson vs. Matt Prater: Who is the greatest Detroit Lions’ kicker of all-time?

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While browsing Twitter this afternoon, I came across a series of tweets debating whether Jason Hanson or Matt Prater is the greatest Detroit Lions‘ kicker of all-time. My immediate response was that Prater is the best the Lions have ever had but that was based solely on his percentage of makes from 50 yards and out.

That being said, I figured it would only be fair if I took a closer look before jumping to such a decisive conclusion.

Longevity

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As you probably already know if you clicked on this, Jason Hanson spent 21 seasons with the Lions. During that time, he was selected to the Pro Bowl on two occasions (1997 and 1999) and he was always considered to be one of the most consistent kickers in the league. In his career, Hanson made 495 field goals (23.57 per season), including a career-best 34 in 1993.

As far as Prater goes, he is currently in his 12th season (5th season with the Lions), and like Hanson, he has been selected to two Pro Bowls (2013 and 2016). So far in his career, Prater has drilled 270 field goals (22.5 per season), including a career-best 31 in 2016 with the Lions.

You never know with kickers, but chances are that Prater, who is 34, will not play another nine seasons to match Hanson and likely will not end up with as many career field goals.

*Note: Prater still has two games remaining in 2018

EDGE: Jason Hanson

Accuracy from Long Range

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When it comes to kicking long field goals, not many have been better than Matt Prater.

So far in his career, Prater has connected on 46 of 61 attempts (75.4%) from 50+ yards, including a career-long kick of 64 yards while playing for the Denver Broncos in 2013.

Hanson, on the other hand, connected on just 52 of 93 attempts (55.9 %) from 50+ yards with a career-long kick of 56 yards.

There is little question that Prater is better from downtown.

EDGE: Matt Prater

Accuracy from Mid-Range

From 40-49 yards out, things are much closer than they were from long range.

In his career, Hanson made 136 of 186 kicks (73%) from 40-29 yards compared to 65 of 93 (69.9%) for Prater.

The crazy thing about this is that Prater is substantially better from long range than he is from 40-49 yards.

That being said, for whatever reason, Hanson seems to be the better kicker (not by much) from this distance.

EDGE: Jason Hanson

Chip Shot Accuracy

When talking chip shot field goals, I am referring to anything from 0-39 yards out and both Hanson and Prater are very accurate from this range, as they should be. (Hell, I even nailed a 46-yard field goal at the Silverdome with just a sock on, back in the day)

Anyways, Hanson made 307 of 322 (95.3%) from short range while Prater has connected on 159 of 169 (94.1%), so both kickers did their job in these situations.

EDGE: Push

Clutch Kicking

There is no question about it that Jason Hanson (when he played) and Matt Prater (now) have ice water in their veins in pressure situations. *Note: this is being written the day after Prater missed a very makable field goal that would have given the Lions a late lead over the Buffalo Bills.

Though I had a difficult time finding actual stats on fourth quarter/game-winning field goal leaders, I did find one site that helped me out up through the 2012 season.

Through 2012, Hanson ranked 7th all-time with 21 fourth quarter/game-winning kicks while Prater checked in at 5. Now, as I said, this only covers through the 2012 season and Prater has certainly added to that list big time since then.

In fact, through November 20, 2017, Prater had attempted 10 potentially game-tying or game-winning field goals in the final four minutes during his time with the Lions and he made them all.

If anything, I would give Hanson the slight edge here, but Prater has been so good in pressure situations that I will call it a push.

EDGE: Push

Who is the greatest Detroit Lions’ kicker of all-time?

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Now, I am not going to lie. I was a ball boy for the Lions when Jason Hanson was kicking and I got to hold for him during practice and prior to every home game so I may be a bit biased.

That being said, I am confident that the numbers above show two things. 1) Both Jason Hanson and Matt Prater are two of the greatest kickers in NFL history and 2) Hanson is a little bit better based on the criteria above.

VERDICT: Jason Hanson is the greatest Detroit Lions’ kicker of all-time

 

 

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Detroit Lions ‘All-Local’ 2019 NFL Mock Draft

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This coming Thursday, the 2019 NFL Draft will officially begin.

Over the past few months, if you are anything like me, you have read literally hundreds upon hundreds of Detroit Lions’ mock drafts.

So, I figured it would be fun to think outside the box (but inside the state) to come up with what an ‘All-local’ Lions draft could look like.

Check it out.

Round 1 – Devin Bush Jr. (LB) Michigan or Rashan Gary (DL) Michigan

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Round 2 – Justin Layne (CB) Michigan State or David Long (CB) Michigan

Round 3 – Sean Bunting (CB) Central Michigan or Chase Winovich (DL) Michigan

Round 4 – Maxx Crosby (Edge) Eastern Michigan

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Round 5 – Khari Willis (S) Michigan State

Round 6 – Xavier Crawford (CB) Central Michigan

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Round 6 – Karan Higdon (RB) Michigan

Round 7 – Zach Gentry (TE) Michigan

Round 7 – LJ Scott (RB) Michigan State

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Now, I know there is a .0000001% chance of this actually happening, but those players should be available when the Lions are on the clock in each round.

If you want to read my ‘Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL mock draft’ please click on the link below. It also includes a local player.

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

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JUST IN: Detroit Lions drop 2019 schedule hype video

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The 2019 NFL Draft is less than a week away and on Friday the team dropped a 2019 schedule hype video.

Check it out!

Nation, what will the Lions record be in 2019?

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REPORT: Detroit Lions meet with standout cornerback

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The NFL Draft will be here before we know it and the Detroit Lions are putting their final touches on their preparations.

According to a report from Matt Miller, the Lions have met with former Central Michigan standout CB, Sean Bunting.

Bunting, who is expected to be drafted on Day 2, had 104 tackles and nine interceptions in 35 career games with the Chippewas.

BONUS CONTENT:

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

It has been a marathon but we are almost to the promised land which is the 2019 NFL Draft!

After hours and hours of research, all of the so-called “experts” will soon be unveiling their final mock draft of the season and none of them will end up being correct.

I, on the other hand, do not claim to be an expert. Instead, I am just a huge fan of the Detroit Lions who happens to believe to know what the Lions’ biggest needs are and which available prospects can fill those needs.

That being said, here is my final crack at what I believe the “perfect” Detroit Lions’ draft would look like.

*Remember, this is NOT what I think Lions’ GM Bob Quinn WILL do in the upcoming draft, it is what I think he SHOULD do.

Round 1, Pick 8

Ed Oliver (DL) Houston

I absolutely LOVE Ed Oliver if he is available when the Detroit Lions are on the clock with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the draft. Whether or not he will be available is the big question.

Oliver is an absolute beast and he could come in and make an immediate impact for a Lions defense that should be greatly improved in 2019.

From Dane Brugler (The Athletic):

STRENGTHS: Fluid body control to wriggle off blocks…excellent foot quickness and change of direction skills…shot out of a cannon with his first step…forces holding penalties due to his gap quickness…creates knockback with his speed-to-power skills…ball awareness to track through blocks…uses natural leverage to stay underneath the pads of blockers…better than expected play strength as a run defender…highly aggressive motor and effort never wanes, chasing down plays near the sidelines…dominated from the moment he stepped onto campus and leaves as a three-time All-American, collecting 54.0 tackles for loss over 33 career starts.

WEAKNESSES: Lacks desired frame and length…needs to continue and develop his body and stay in the 280-285 pound range (weighed 274 for most of his final season at Houston)…relied more on motor than brute power to overwhelm blockers in college…not a bull rusher…undeveloped approach with his hands…below- average counter measures once locked up…faced inferior competition in the AAC…several immature moments in college, including an on-field altercation with head coach Major Applewhite regarding a coat issue on the sideline — Oliver has a “young attitude” and has “growing up to do,” according to an NFL scout…missed five games as a junior with a right knee bruise (November 2018) and was limited at the combine with a strained hamstring (February 2019).

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Houston, Oliver was one of college football’s most disruptive players over the last three years, spending most of his time at nose tackle for the Cougars. With his football flexibility and natural biomechanics, he has rare athletic ability for the position with the backfield vision to recognize play designs and disrupt from different angles. Oliver still requires time to develop his body, mind and technique at the next level. He will struggle with long-armed blockers who get to his frame and control his chest, but his energy and motor are both elite. Overall, Oliver won’t be a natural fit for every NFL scheme, but he is an ideal one-gap penetrator due to his athleticism, instincts and relentless nature, projecting best when he is lined up closest to the football.

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