If the NFL will allow these young draft prospects to continue their profession beyond 2014 without any additional rule changes to the kicking game, we might be able to enjoy some really explosive kick returners in the years to come.
After all, people do say special teams should be valued equally to both offense and defense in determining a game's outcome, and the guys populating this list are a large reason why.
To rank these talented return options, I graded them each in three critical categories.
The ultimate goal with this scoring system is to bring together as many factors as possible that might correlate with a prospect’s career success.
This metric also allows for unique intra-positional comparisons to be made across numerous layers of data.
The returners are listed based on the average of these three grades.
Measurables Grade: This is the combined score of everything that prospect brings to the table with regard to physical tools. This consists only of measurable data generated at the combine or pro days.
To do this, every available element of data is normalized into numeric values and then weighted into an overall grade. The value in applying this formula is that it allows for the data to be organized and incorporated into macro-level analysis.
Production Grade: To generate a production grade, every prospects' kick return stats were taken throughout their collegiate career and combined in a formula to determine the most productive return prospect over the course of their career.
Film Study: This category speaks for itself. It's the part where all the juicy subjectivity comes into play. But this is a very critical part nonetheless. For kick returners, I personally want to see a guy who really knows how to make guys miss using as many tools and strategies as possible.