Friday, April 11, 2014
Mel Kiper talks return specialists
By Adam Teicher
After losing Dexter McCluster and Quintin Demps to free agency, look for the Kansas City Chiefs to draft at least one player with kickoff and punt return skills. The Chiefs had one of the best return games in the league last season, but only Knile Davis remains as one of their return specialists. Davis is still new to the return game and can handle kickoffs but not punts so the Chiefs are in need of some help.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. recently talked about some of the top return specialists in the draft and began with running backs Dri Archer of Kent State and De'Anthony Thomas of Oregon.
"Those would be the two guys that jump out because they have tremendous versatility and they've already proven they can get the job done in that area," Kiper said. "I think John Brown is an underrated guy, a sleeper-type out of Pittsburg State. Can return punts, kicks. Did a great job. He also caught the ball I thought very well. I think John Brown ... could be a guy late in the draft that really helps out in that area."
Some of the wide receivers who could be available to the Chiefs with their first-round pick also have return skills. This group includes LSU's Odell Beckham Jr., Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and USC's Marqise Lee. Beckham could wind up being the best return specialist in this year's draft.
"I don't mention those guys because you certainly wouldn't prefer your No. 1 receiver, your No. 2 receiver to be doing that necessarily," Kiper said. "Odell Beckham could be a No. 1 (receiver). Cooks is going to be an outstanding slot receiver. Early in their careers, they can do that ... but you want to make sure that doesn't lead to an injury."
Beckham or Cooks would probably be part-time players for the Chiefs as rookies. I would expect either one to get the chance to be the No. 1 return specialist in Kansas City.