The Patriots for some reason traded starting corner and best kick return man Ellis Hobbs to the Iggles which leaves a big hole at kick returner. As we know field position is huge in the NFL and having a guy who can break a few tackles give you great field position is key.
Hobbs last season had 45 kick returns for a 28 yard average. The next behind him was Matt Slater with 11 KR and a measly 14 yard average (and a big fumble in a key game), followed by Kevin Faulk (18 avg) and Sammy Morris (18 avg)
So who will return kicks?
First lets strike players from the list:
- Kevin Faulk from the list, he is mister everything and I do not want to waste him on Kick Returning, he also does not have that explosiveness
- Same with Straight ahead Sammy Morris, so hes off the list
- Wes Welker- too much of an injury concern to have the waterbug get smushed and injured on KRs
- Obsious nos- Fred Taylor, Randy Moss, Joey Galloway
Now lets get into the guys who would be able to take it to the house
- Matt Slater, he did it last year but only averaged 18 yards per and I dont trust him-
- Laurence Maroney- he did it well in 2006 and averaged 28 yards per, but if he is the starting RB do we want him returning kicks? (maybe he wont be)
- Greg Lewis- he has a little experience but has not shown greatness, so no to him too
- Brandon Tate- he excelled in this at college but right now he is hurt, if healthy I could see him there
- Julian Eldelman- still a question mark to make the roster but if he does I would love to see him return kicks, hes is a stud athlete and will be great on special teams, and has to if he wants to make the team
- Darius Butler and Patrick Chung-both of these guys did it in college and were pretty damn good at it. Chung wont start right away so I can see him returning kicks and Butler is like Ellis Hobbs in his speed and athleticism- again I would like to see either one of these guys return kicks
The Verdict? The Rankings.....
1. Darius Butler- guy can burn
2.Patrick Chung- playmaker
3. Julian Edelman- in love with his athleticism, man crush
4. Laurence Maroney- if he doesnt start at RB, have him return kicks