NY Jets kick returner depth chart
• Starter: Corey Ballentine
• Backups: Ty Johnson, Vyncint Smith, Austin Walter, Braxton Berrios, Matt Cole, La'Mical Perine
The competition to be the Jets' kick returner will be wide open with several different candidates in play.
Corey Ballentine will have a tough time making the roster at cornerback, but if he does, it will be because of his dynamic return and special teams skills. Last season, Ballentine led the Jets in returns (12), average (26.2), and yardage (314) with a long of 66 yards.
Ty Johnson and Vyncint Smith have a lot of speed, but there are two former 49ers on the Jets roster with excellent backgrounds as kick returners as well in Austin Walter and Matt Cole.
The Jets recently picked both up off waivers from San Francisco. Walter has juice as a runner and receiver and made the All-XFL team at kick returner in 2020 for the Dallas Renegades.
Cole was dynamic at McKendree, winning the Great Lakes Valley Conference Special Teams Player of the Year in 2019. Cole returned three kickoffs for touchdowns (30yd avg.) in his college career, with one punt return for a score, and netted 61 tackles.
That type of skill set could land him a spot on the active roster or practice squad.
NY Jets punt returner depth chart
• Starter: Keelan Cole
• Backups: Braxton Berrios, Jamison Crowder, Matt Cole
Keelan Cole could play many different roles on the Jets' roster in 2021. Besides having the ability to play on the outside and in the slot at receiver, Cole has also been an excellent returner when called upon.
Last year for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he averaged 15.6 yards per punt return with a 91-yard score. Cole also returned kicks for a 26.7-yard average.
There are no guarantees that Berrios or Crowder is on the opening day Jets roster. But if they are, either one could assume the punt returner job as well.
Long Snapper: Thomas Hennessy
Nothing to see here. Just move along. That's the best compliment that you can give to a long snapper. The only time you notice them or hear their name called is when something goes awry.