A Look At The Detroit Lions Signing Of 2018 UDFA Ryan Santoso.
The Detroit Lions have put a little bit of pressure on punter Sam Martin to have a good camp this off-season with the signing of UDFA Ryan Santoso. Santoso spent the past 2 seasons as the starting punter for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. On his 127 punts in college, 34.6% landed inside the 20 yard line. He accrued 5,360 yards punted, with a long of 68 for his collegiate career which was set against the Michigan State Spartans. Santoso also had a 41.8 net average, which is 4th best in Minnesota’s history. His senior season net average of 43.0 yards was the 2nd best ever performance from a punter as well, for Minnesota.
To say that Santoso is on the upper end for size for the punting position would be an understatement. He will enter the NFL at 6’6″, 258 lbs, which rivals even long-time the long-time kicker for the Oakland Raiders, Sebastian Janikowski. His big lower body and long legs create nice power to really drive the ball down the field.
It has been no secret that both Lions general manager Bob Quinn and new head coach Matt Patricia covet versatility in all of their players. Ironically, Santoso also fits the bill here. While at Minnesota he did not just punt, he also kicked field goals and did the kickoffs for the Golden Gophers.
While Sam Martin certainly has proven he has the ability to be an elite punter, his consistency has still been an issue for him. In several situations where the Lions needed a clutch punt from Martin, he had the worst punts of his career. Also, he has had struggles staying on the field consistency with injury issues the past few seasons. This is not to suggest that Martin is on his way out or anything. The starting punter job should be his for the 2018 season. However, if his inconsistency and health issues continue to arise come training camp, the Lions may surprise the fan base by electing to keep Santoso over Martin, if he can have a stellar training camp.