The Quarterback Blog looks at the Top 10 NFL Return Specialists as part of our look at the Top Active NFL Players. The interesting thing about being a return specialist and qualifying for this list is that the player must still be fielding punts or kickoffs for their respective team. Reggie Bush used to be an excellent returner, but for the sake of this list, does not qualify.
TOP 10 NFL RETURN SPECIALISTS
T10.) JACOBY FORD, Oakland Raiders: Ford has struggled to stay on the field with injuries, but has a career total of 4 returns for TD’s and averages 25.0 yard per kick return.
T10.) LEON WASHINGTON, New England Patriots: Has been used less and less on return duties, but still one of the best with 8 total returned TD’s on his resume and 25.9 yards per kick return and 9.9 yards per punt return.
T10.) TED GINN, JR., Carolina Panthers: Ginn has some big returns in his highlight reel which include 6 TD’s and a 10.6 yards per punt return.
9.) LEODIS MCKELVIN, Buffalo Bills: Quietly makes this list as he’s recorded 6 TD’s and is 6th amongst active players with 26.5 yards per kick return average.
8.) JOSH CRIBBS, New York Jets: Would be and should be higher on this list, but has only 1 TD in his last 3.5 seasons. Cribbs does own 11 total returned TD’s and an 11.0 yard average on punts.
7.) TRAVIS BENJAMIN, Cleveland Browns: Somewhat of an insult putting the Browns current return man ahead of their former return ace, but Benjamin has been a huge impact on field position for the Browns, and even (dare I say) has won them games. Despite only 2 TD’s to his name on Teams, Benjamin was averaging 11.7 yards per punt before his injury.
6.) TRINDON HOLLIDAY, Denver Broncos: Has 4 TD’s in the return game in his 3-years of service. Has a TD on both kick and punt returns this season and averages 34.5 and 11.5 yards per return on kicks and punts.
5.) PATRICK PETERSON, Arizona Cardinals: A disappointing 2013 for Peterson in regards to his returns, but has 4 TD’s and a 10.9 career punt average.
4.) JACOBY JONES, Baltimore Ravens: Did it on the big stage last postseason averaging 26.1 and 10.0 yards per return on kicks and punts and has 7 total TD’s.
3.) PERCY HARVIN, Seattle Seahawks: Can’t wait for his return, but probably won’t field returns again until fully healthy. Harvin has 5 TD’s and is #2 amongst active kick returners with a 27.9 yard average.
2.) CORDARRELLE PATTERSON, Minnesota Vikings: Like above with Benjamin over Cribbs, Patterson took over for Percy Harvin and the Vikings haven’t looked back. The rookie has 2 TD’s in just 18 kickoffs returned and is averaging an insane league-leading 39.1 yards per return.
1.) DEVIN HESTER, Chicago Bears: A sure Hall of Famer, Hester has an NFL record 18 TD’s (13 Punts, 5 Kickoffs) and keeps adding more. Hester owns a career average 12.2 yards per punt return and is even averaging 13.3 yards per return this season.