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Friday, June 7, 2024

Each NFL group’s supreme kick returner with new safer kickoff guidelines: Lamar Jackson, Saquon Barkley wild choices

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With the NFL debuting new guidelines governing kickoffs this upcoming season, there’s not less than one coach on the market (Mike McDaniel of the Dolphins) who thinks we’re going to see No. 1 wideouts and working backs campaigning to get in on the return recreation. Which will or could not truly come to fruition, however the group right here at CBS Sports activities thinks it could be actually freaking cool if it did. 

So, we received to imagining issues and determined we wanted to place collectively an inventory of probably the most enjoyable potential return man for every. We will do is stroll by, division by division, every of the 32 groups within the NFL and see what we come up. The one caveat right here is that they can not presently be the group’s return man. We’re trying, basically, for novelty acts — even when they’re the sort that might by no means occur, comparable to a few of the quarterbacks listed under.

With out additional ado …

NFC East

Lamb returned punts in school and his first couple NFL seasons, however he is clearly been too essential to the Cowboys’ offense to make use of him as a kick returner. However he is electrical with the ball in his palms and might make guys miss, so he’d be actually enjoyable to observe again there. Nabers has game-breaking pace, as we regularly noticed at LSU, and Robinson (who has returned some punts however not kicks) is without doubt one of the shiftiest gamers within the NFL. Both of them would give the Giants a very fascinating look. We’re tackle-breaking greater than pace right here, and AJB and Saquon are two of the perfect within the enterprise in that enviornment. Plus, the ability with which they run could be a brand new search for kickoffs. After which Daniels is only a preposterous athlete who might probably break some wild performs if given the chance.

NFC North

Swift truly has an ideal talent set for this form of function. All of the issues which have pissed off coaches about his working fashion might truly be performed up within the new-look return recreation. Gibbs and Watson are fairly self-explanatory. These dudes are actually freaking quick. And Gibbs, specifically, can be simply explosive briefly areas and excels at avoiding tackles. Jefferson is not essentially an ideal match for this train, however who would not wish to see it anyway? And Jones has at all times had a knack for snapping off lengthy runs and receptions, so he can do the identical form of factor as a returner. 

NFC South

Robinson was wildly under-utilized by Atlanta final season, so let’s let him additionally return kicks, simply to be secure. And Moore returned kicks for the Cardinals as a rookie however not final season. Put him again in that function and see what occurs. So far as the flexibility to interrupt explosive performs goes, Brooks is perhaps the one recreation on the town in Carolina. He is getting back from an ACL tear so this clearly would not occur, however it could be lots cooler if it did! We have already seen Taysom Hill tackle a task as a runner in crowded conditions, so why not extent that to the kicking recreation? What is the worst that might occur? After which Godwin is only a bowling ball who’s used to creating with the ball in his palms, being that he is a slot receiver.

NFC West

Murray is so elusive, it could be onerous for any kick-return models to catch him. Maybe he might keep away from the massive hits simply by shaking all people out of their cleats. Corum returned a couple of kicks his first couple years at Michigan, and he was fairly good at it! Why not give it one other shot? Deebo and McCaffrey are fairly apparent inclusions. No one is best at creating yards out of nothing than are these two guys. They usually do not less than have return expertise. After which how terrifying would it not be to see a man DK METCALF’s dimension working straight at you within the return recreation? We would pay simply to see it.

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AFC East

Talking of fellows DK Metcalf’s dimension … Josh Allen! Clearly, we all know he can create wonderful performs in house. It is totally different as a returner than a scrambler, however it could nonetheless be enjoyable. The Dolphins have extra fascinating guys to do that with than virtually any group within the NFL. Hill and Achane have numerous return expertise in both school or the professionals, whereas Waddle returned some punts at Alabama. Any one in all them or Wright might break an enormous play instantly. Gibson was a hybrid working again/slot receiver and return man at Memphis, and we might simply slide him again into that function; and Douglas has the fashion of shiftiness we talked about with Wan’Dale Robinson earlier. Corridor has a knack for breaking massive performs when given even a sliver of house, and there is a purpose that Corley drew comparisons to guys like Deebo, Golden Tate, and Randall Cobb. He’d be unbelievable on this function. 

AFC North

Keep in mind once I stated “virtually” any group concerning the Dolphins? That is as a result of the Ravens exist, and their choices are rather more assorted than are Miami’s. Lamar and Henry is perhaps the 2 most fascinating guys on this complete listing, given their disparate talent units and the best way they’ll create in house. Mitchell has the electrical pace, and Flowers has the joystick strikes. Chase has already established himself as a prime tackle-breaker and YAC man. The identical talent set would apply right here. Moore has solely returned three punts or kicks in his profession. That is a disgrace. We’re placing him again there and seeing what he can do. Fields and Warren might type a thunder-and-lightning type of duo for Pittsburgh, besides the thunder (Fields) would additionally include like 1,000 mile-per-hour winds or one thing. 

AFC South

Dell returned 11 punts and two kicks final season; however he was a big-play machine within the passing recreation, and along with his pace, he’d make for a lights-out return man if he might discover a gap within the protection. Richardson is without doubt one of the greatest athletes within the historical past of the game, and whereas there are apparent the explanation why he’d by no means be concerned within the return recreation, that does not imply we will not image the potential awesomeness. Taylor and Etienne are on right here for a similar purpose numerous different working backs are: they’ve the flexibility to make one thing out of nothing. They do it in several methods, nevertheless it’s there. We might have gone with Tyjae Spears for Tennessee however he did return a bunch of kicks final season. So, because the teaching workers not too long ago stated Burks wanted to discover a technique to contribute on particular groups, we discovered him one. 

AFC West

Did you see what McLaughlin might do in open house when given the chance final season? I would prefer to see that extra typically. Worthy and Brown carry unbelievable pace to the desk. Jones does as effectively, and he returned kicks in school. McConkey additionally has wonderful pace, however he has an elusiveness component as effectively. He’d be nice for this. It is a lot more durable to drop a kick than a move, so Johnston might put his ridiculous athleticism to rather more use than he did as a rookie.

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