The Lions took punter Sam Martin in the fifth round of last month’s draft with the expectation that he’ll steady what has arguably been their most unsettled position the last few years.

Though most of the league’s top punters were drafted coming out of college, recent history suggests that drafting a specialist is no guarantee of present or future success.

NFL teams selected 10 punters in Rounds 3-7 of the five drafts before this year. Some, such as Thomas Morstead and Bryan Anger, have been among the best in the league. Others, such as Durant Brooks (2008) and Brent Bowden (2010), had brief, forgettable careers.

Morstead, fellow 2009 picks Kevin Huber of Cincinnati and Pat McAfee of Indianapolis, Atlanta’s Matt Bosher (2011) and Anger, a third-round pick by Jacksonville last year (when Lions special-teams coach John Bonamego was in the same position with the Jaguars), all ranked in the top half of the league in net punting last year.

But so did Britton Colquitt, Brett Kern and Chris Jones, three players who got their start as undrafted free agents in the last five years.

Anger and Carolina’s Brad Nortman, the two punters drafted last year, had different results as rookies. Anger tied for seventh with a 40.8-yard net average; Nortman tied for 33rd with a 36.5-yard net, about a yard less than Nick Harris, the punter the Lions opted not to retain.

Martin, who was drafted 10 picks after the Vikings took Jeff Locke, is a former soccer player who picked up punting for the first time four years ago.