July 26, 2021

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Breaking down the special teamers

2 min read
Breaking down the special teamers

» Who will win the kickoff returner job?

While we’ll assume Nyheim Hines has a leg up as the punt returner heading into training camp — he returned nine punts in all for 281 yards, for an insane average of 31.2 yards per return, with a league-leading two touchdowns down the stretch last year — the Colts’ kickoff returner job appears much more wide open. Zach Pascal (10 kickoff returns in 2019), Parris Campbell (seven) and Hines (six) all return to compete for that spot, but speedy wide receiver Ashton Dulin — who had three kickoff returns for 90 yards as an undrafted rookie last year — has also been mentioned in the past as a potential standout returner. The X-factor in this scenario could very well be Isaiah Rodgers. The 2020 sixth-round pick out of UMass has 4.28-second 40-yard dash speed, and was one of college football’s top returners the past couple seasons. Last year, Rodgers logged a UMass single-season record 53 kickoff returns for 1,295 yards, ranking first in the nation among FBS players in those categories, while also adding a 42-yard punt return touchdown against Charlotte; Rodgers was named a First-Team All-American by Pro Football Focus as a kick returner. Rodgers certainly needs to earn a job at cornerback, too, but his abilities as a returner should certainly bolster his chances.


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