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Coffee with the Jets: Who is returning kicks in 2017?

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Nov 12, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (13) carries the ball against Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (13) carries the ball against Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
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A loyal reader asks who will ultimately return kickoff and punt returns for the New York Jets this upcoming season. Time to discuss over a hot cup of coffee.

As the New York Jets prepare for 2017, many question marks appear all across the roster. Who will be under center in Week 1? Will their younger receiving corps step up? How will head coach Todd Bowles do in his third season with the franchise?

Those are just a few but as OTAs continue until the start of training camp, even more questions will arise. Now, for those of you not familiar with my Coffee with the Jets series, it’s basically an open platform in which I ask my readers on Twitter to send questions to be answered right here on The Jet Press.

Today’s question comes from Steven via Twitter, here’s what he asked:

Who is going to return kicks this year?

— Steven Penn (@Steven218) May 26, 2017

Yesterday, I made the case as to why running back Elijah McGuire should be the next special team’s returner for the Jets. He has great speed, a knack for making big plays, and most of all, the kid knows how to find the end zone. In his collegiate career at Louisiana-Lafayette, he totaled 52 overall touchdowns as a rushing and receiving option.

Granted, he didn’t score a single touchdown via special teams but the potential is there to make some serious noise. The only other player I think might also have a shot at returning kicks this upcoming season would be Ardarius Stewart.

The Jets selected Stewart in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft since he brings a lot to the table. Most of these rookies the Jets drafted will more than likely earn their way up the depth chart by playing on special teams.

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Stewart has experience as a kickoff and punt returner since at Alabama, he averaged 19.1 yards per return in the few reps he got at the position.

He’s primarily a wide receiver but again, he could be a viable option to finally have a returner capable of scoring a touchdown on special teams. It hasn’t happened in years.

Overall, keep an eye on both McGuire and Stewart as to me, they’re the two prime candidates to compete and earn that starting position. One can also see the Jets trying different players out at kickoff and punt returner until they find a consistent threat. The kind of weapon that has enough speed to score touchdowns or at the very least, give the Jets offense much better field positioning.

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