3 reasons why Lions have unearthed a gem with UFL superstar Jake Bates

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3 reasons why Lions have unearthed a gem with UFL superstar Jake Bates

The Detroit Lions have reportedly signed Jake Bates to a two-year deal. The UFL superstar joins the NFC Conference powerhouse after a stunning spring football campaign with the Michigan Panthers.

Before Bates' introduction into the National Football League, let's look at why the Lions have unearthed the hidden gem of a placekicker.

Three reasons why Detroit Lions have unearthed a gem with UFL superstar Jake Bates

1. UFL stardom

Bates ranked second in the UFL, scoring 17 field goals for the Michigan Panthers. His crowning moment was a successful 64-yard game-winning kick in the season opener against the St. Louis Battlehawks. Interestingly, the conversion was just two yards off Justin Tucker's NFL record of 66 yards.

Interestingly, that record-setting kick was Bates’ first in a professional game, and it set the stage for a stellar UFL run.

2. Competition in the kicking department

Jake Bates joins a Detroit Lions kicking department that features Michael Badgley and James Turner. Both players were undrafted free agents before they got their shot in the NFL.

Badgley appeared in four regular-season games for the Lions in 2023, converting all four field goal attempts. The longest field goal was 41 yards, which is not uncommon for an NFL-caliber placekicker. On the other hand, James Turner is entering his first NFL season after winning the College Football Playoff National Championship with the Michigan Wolverines.

Jake Bates will provide competition for both players in what looks like a fascinating kicking room. It's anyone's guess who'll be starting in Week 1.

3. The next Brandon Aubrey

Brandon Aubrey was one of the stories of the 2023–24 NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys placekicker went from playing as a central defender for Toronto FC to the USFL, finally earning first-team All-Pro honors in his NFL rookie season.

Aubrey made 94.7% of his field goal attempts for the Cowboys, despite only making his professional American football debut in 2022. His story is similar to Bates,' as he made a name for himself in spring football before transitioning to the National Football League.

The Detroit Lions might have signed their own version of Brandon Aubrey. If Bates is anything like the Cowboys star, then the Lions have struck gold with the two-year contract.

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Edited by Krutik Jain
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