Who will be the Broncos starting kick & punt returner in 2023?

Will Montrell Washington be the team's kick and punt returner again? will it be someone else?

Tremon Smith
Tremon Smith / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Return specialists are very important not only for the Denver Broncos but for every team in the league. There are two types of return specialists, kick returner and punt returner. Both specialists aim to do all they can to help flip field position throughout the course of a game. It is very difficult to have a kick/punt return touchdown, but these players look to get as close as possible to the opponent's endzone if possible.

Kick returners usually have more space to catch the ball than punt returners and have more time to decide if they return the specific kick. These specific positions take a lot of responsibility because you have to be very focused to first secure the ball and then run with it while checking on how the defenders are coming towards you.

Last season, the Denver Broncos used the same player as their kick returner and punt returner. This player was wide receiver Montrell Washington, who was a rookie last year. Statistically, Washington was the fifth-worst kick returner in the league, with only 340 kick-return yards. Just for you to get an idea, the leader in kick-return yards (Keisean Nixon), had 1,009. Now, regarding punt-return yards, Washington was the 11th-best, with 271 yards. The league leader in punt-return yards was cornerback Marcus Jones from the Patriots, and he had 362.

During free agency, the Denver Broncos signed cornerback Tremon Smith. Smith has been a kick returner since he entered the league. He was the kick returner in the 2018 All-Rookie Team. Last season, he finished with 417 kick-return yards, which is almost 80 more than Montrell, and was the week 15 AFC Special Teams player of the week. Over his career, Smith has had 94 kick returns in 66 games, for 2,323 yards, and also has one kick-return touchdown. On average, Smith has 24.2 yards per return. Montrell had 18.89 average return yards per kick.

Additionally, Denver drafted former Oklahoma Sooners wideout Marvin Mims with a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Mims was the Sooners' punt returner during his three years in college. He had 33 punt returns in 37 games, for 391 yards, which on average is 11.8 yards per return. Washington had 8.5 average return yards per punt last year.

With a new special teams coaching staff, the big question is who will be the Broncos' kick returner and punt returner?

Smith is the most experienced out of the three guys that I think will be the candidates for the job, but he specializes in kick returns. Marvin Mims, who was the starting punt returner for the Oklahoma Sooners during his entire college career could be used as the punt returner. Montrell Washington could also be the guy.

Head coach Sean Payton said that superstar cornerback Patrick Surtain can be the team's emergency punt returner, so if the guy that ends up with the job, either gets injured or plays badly, Surtain could end up returning punts for Denver.

Who should be the starting kick returner for the Broncos? Who should be the starting punt returner for the Broncos?

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