The short answer is absolutely.
Punter is easily one of the Lions biggest needs entering the 2013 offseason, and LSU’s Brad Wing is by far the best available in the upcoming draft class.
ESPN’s Scouts Inc. gave Wing a grade of 65, 15 points higher than the second-best punter (Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen) and projects him as a middle-round pick.
Defensive end, cornerback and safety are the Lions’ top 3 needs in the 2013 draft, but punter is in the top 6 along with offensive line (tackle or guard, depending on free agency) and outside linebacker.
Nick Harris’ gross average of 41.5 yards per punt ranked dead last in the NFL, and the Lions will surely look to replace the 34-year-old for 2013.
They could bring back Ryan Donahue or any number of punters with pro experience, but if Wing is available in the fourth or fifth round, the Lions should draft him and lock down that position for the foreseeable future.
Wing, a 21-year-old redshirt sophomore from Melbourne, Australia, was a first-team All-American last season after placing 27 punts inside the 20. Wing had 21 punts inside the 20 this season, but his gross average (44.8 yards) improved slightly from 2011 (44.4 yards).
The Lions need a punter who can flip the field and pin teams deep, which Wing has proven in two seasons at LSU.
And although Wing has a big, accurate leg from his times playing Australian rules football, there are a couple reasons the Lions won’t draft him.
The first is Wing might not slip until the fourth round because he’s already a household name, in part because of this play.
The Lions have more needs than other teams, so they may look to fill those before drafting a specialist like Wing.
The other problem is Wing has had some off-field issues, something the Lions will try to avoid at all cost when selecting players in April. LSU suspended Wing for this year’s Chik-fil-A Bowl after a violation of team rules.
Wing’s father, Dave, briefly punted with the Lions in 1990, so he may welcome the chance to come to Detroit.