As Dan Campbell alluded to on Monday, the Detroit Lions have made a change at kicker. After holding workouts on Tuesday, the Lions have signed Riley Patterson off the New England Patriots’ practice squad, as first reported by KickerCentral and confirmed by Mike Reiss of ESPN.
UPDATE: Dave Birkett of the Free Press has also confirmed the report.
Detroit opted to make a change after Ryan Santoso missed two critical kicks in Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers: an extra point and a game-winning overtime kick from 48 yards. Santoso was playing because starting kicker Austin Seibert was placed on injured reserve on Saturday with a hip injury.
Patterson went undrafted out of Memphis in 2020 and was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. He was eventually released and joined the New England Patriots practice squad in October, where he has stayed until Tuesday, when the Lions poached him.
At Memphis, over 52 games, Patterson had career marks of 64-of-82 on field goals and was 240-of-246 on extra points. His career-long was 56 yards and he finished second in school history with 432 points scored.
Patterson has a decent leg but is not a consistently above-average power kicker. In 2020, he struggled in the elements. It resulted in just a 69 percent field goal success rate and left evaluators wondering what happened from the previous season when he converted on 92 percent of his field goals. Additionally, he has not shown the ability to drive the ball on kickoffs, which could be a problem against situations against quality returners.
Some of Patterson’s deficiencies can be masked by Ford Field and the Lions’ special teams' efficiency. Playing indoors will take the elements out of the equation and five of the Lions' remaining eight games will be played indoors—though Week 14 at Denver and Week 17 at Seattle could be problematic. Furthermore, kickoffs may not be an issue as the Lions have some of the best special teams cover players in the game—as we saw last week in Pittsburgh—and the Lions always have the option to turn to Pro Bowl punter Jack Fox if they need to.
Per reports, Detroit also added some kicker insurance by signing free agent Aldrick Rosas to the practice squad. Rosas has bounced around four different teams—the Titans, Giants, Jaguars, and Saints—since going undrafted in 2016. He actually made the Pro Bowl in 2018 as a member of the Giants, converting on 32-of-33 field goals, including a long of 57. However, we only went 12-of-17 the next year, with an accuracy of just 1-of-5 from 40 yards or more.
He most recently made four game appearances for the Saints earlier this season. While he made all 13 of his extra point attempts, he was just 1-of-4 with misses from 36, 52, and 58 yards.