5. Returners announced by NY Jets
One of the highlights of training camp has been the use of a broom and medicine ball on punt returns. The broom has been used as a distraction trying to catch the ball, as the medicine ball is rolled to force a quick move out of the return man.
Working during training camp with this equipment has been Braxton Berrios, who has held the job the past two seasons. He remains as the first-team punt returner on the first depth chart, but not without any competition.
Behind him is Keelan Cole, a veteran receiver who has experience from his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Being one of the listed first-team receivers likely would eliminate his involvement on returns.
Therefore, making Michael Carter and second-round pick Elijah Moore Berrios’ biggest competition. Carter is a small, shifty back who had a long kick return during the Green & White Scrimmage. Moore, who is an explosive weapon with the ball in his hands, can make anyone miss too.
Outside of kicker, the punt return job is the most entertaining, with kick returner behind it. New York has not had a dynamic return man since Andre Roberts’ Pro Bowl season in 2018. Hopefully, that will change in 2021.
Cornerback Corey Ballentine is the first man up, and rightfully so. Ballentine may have had two returns to the house Saturday night had the whistle not been blown dead at the 45-yard line.
Trailing him are Ty Johnson, receiver Josh Malone, and Carter. All three are viable options for the job, but with the way Ballentine performed Saturday night, he should get the job.