Denver Broncos: Looking at punt and kick return candidates

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Wide receiver Jordan Taylor
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Wide receiver Jordan Taylor /

The Denver Broncos had issues on special teams last season. The return of Jordan Taylor and potential acquisitions at the position could be the answer…

The Denver Broncos will have new faces at key positions on special teams next season. That won’t be a bad thing, as special teams was a huge issue for the team in 2017.

With the loss of special teams ace Cody Latimer (Giants) and another player in Bennie Fowler, who the team didn’t bring back (team chose not to tender), they should be fine.

Speaking at the coaches breakfast this morning at league meetings, Broncos head coach Vance Joseph spoke highly of second-year receiver/special teams player Carlos Henderson. Henderson did not play at all last season due to injury, but Joseph is confident in Henderson to fill the hole(s) left by the departed players.

"“Carlos Henderson was a guy who was a good [special] teams player during training camp. He was a good gunner. He’s a jammer as a defender. You look at the guy, he’s built like a running back. He’s got big shoulders and long arms. He’s a guy that can take over some of those roles.”Vance Joseph (quotes via Broncos PR)"

Joseph credited Latimer and Fowler for the toughness they brought to special teams.

"“[Giants WR] Cody [Latimer] and [WR] Bennie [Fowler III] were a joy to have because it’s rare that two receivers are core teams players because of the toughness that comes with that. But those two guys did it. It was a luxury having two that can do it.”"

Denver might look to draft a number of players near the end of the draft that can play on special teams. Special teams requires some fast guys, combinations of wide receivers and cornerbacks on the outside, and running backs or linebackers in the middle.

The answer to the team’s kickoff and punt return positions could also already be on the team. Joseph named a couple options that could contribute in returning punts and kicks.

"“Again, Jordan Taylor came on as a teamer for us last year as a returner and on kickoff coverage and those things. We’re hoping Jordan continues that and that Carlos can get better at it. Obviously Langley has to get better in all aspects.”"

Jordan Taylor has been a bright spot for the Broncos over the past couple of years since Peyton Manning credited him for his efforts in practice. I think Taylor secures the punt return job, and he could potentially be one of the options at kick return, as the team had used multiple players at once on kicks.

Some of the players the Broncos could draft and start out at special teams are Louisiana State cornerback Donte Jackson, Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson, both whom ran the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds, and Louisiana State wide receiver D.J. Chark (4.34).