Denver Broncos training camp: Special teams preview

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Kicker Brandon McManus
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Kicker Brandon McManus /
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DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 30: Punter Riley Dixon
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 30: Punter Riley Dixon /

Riley Dixon

Age: 23 – Contract: 3 years remaining ($560,002 cap hit)

In his rookie season with the Broncos, Riley Dixon proved he was a clear upgrade over Britton Colquitt, who had become a liability after a very solid postseason run in 2015.

To be fair, Colquitt had a bit of a bounce-back season with the Cleveland Browns, but Dixon was an upgrade last season, even if marginally so.

These aren’t statistics you necessarily want your punter to be among the NFL leaders in, but Dixon ranked near the top of the league in both punts and yards, and most importantly, he ranked 9th in net average, figuring in both his punting average and the average yards on a return.

Dixon’s 28 punts inside the 20 ranked him tied for 10th in the NFL, and he showed his value on multiple special teams units by becoming the holder on field goals and extra points.

He also pulled off a fake punt perfectly, completing his only pass of the season for a first down.

Dixon is a very good athlete who happens to play the punter position, and he’s a weapon that I think will continue to develop. The Broncos would obviously love to see him be more efficient getting the ball downfield and pinning teams inside the 20 more often, and I think that will come with some time.

I think he’ll be vastly improved even from year one to year two, having time to adjust to the pressure of the NFL. The more comfortable kicking specialists get, the better they seem to get. The Broncos would also probably love to see Dixon on the field more as a holder on extra points than punts in a game. He averaged almost six punts per contest in 2016, a number that will hopefully decrease dramatically.