The New York Giants have toyed with the idea of using star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to return punts in specific situations, as seen in the 2016 before he went down with a broken ankle in ’17.
The primary kick returner has been Dwayne Harris for the past several years, but the signing of Cody Lattimer could present a solid option for the Giants to return kicks. His immense speed and big body could be essential in grinding out a few extra yards to put the offense in better field position.
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Another interesting option would be undrafted free agent Jawill Davis. Davis has shown flashes of speed and agility during the offseason, which could present him with an opportunity to return kicks. He is fighting for a wide receiver spot that may not be available with Roger Lewis and Lattimer primed to take on bigger roles on the offense (the latter more-so).
Davis is known for his stellar route running abilities and vision. He recorded several impressive catches during rookie mini-camp and OTAs. His best bet to earn a roster spot will be to make an impression on special teams and prove that he can help in more ways than just as a being a receiver.
Will Barkley play a role on special teams?
Rookie running back Saquon Barkley stated that he’s more than just a running back before the beginning of OTAs, and it raises the question: Will the Giants utilize Barkley as a kick returner?
The likely answer is, no. But, his abilities as a return man can’t be overlooked – just take a look at this highlight play against Ohio State.
— Swapty Sports (@SwaptySports) October 28, 2017
The primary reason the Giants ‘wouldn’t’ use Barkley as a return man would be to ensure he stays healthy. The NFL is contemplating wiping kick returns from the game due to an increase in concussions, which should be a telling sign as to why using your best player to return kicks might be a bad idea.
Who do ‘you’ think will return kicks for the Giants in 2018?