In the 2012 season, the New York Giants went with WR Reuben Randle to return punts. Meanwhile, most of the kick returns were done by RB David Wilson. WR Domenik Hixon saw action returning punts as well, just as he has been the main special teams guy in years past.
However, Hixon is now gone, a member of the Carolina Panthers. Wilson is now most likely going to be the Giants’ primary running back as well, so the Giants may not want to tax him with extra special teams responsibility as well. Sure they’ll look to get him in on a couple of returns when they really need his speed, but they will most likely look to someone else to take Wilson’s place full-time.
Newly acquired WR Louis Murphy, formerly of the Panthers, is most likely to take over those duties. He possesses solid speed as well, and he’s most likely to be the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart behind WR Victor Cruz, WR Hakeem Nicks and Randle. In order to get him onto the field more, it’ll be in the Giants’ interest to place him as a kick returner.
CB Jayron Hosley is also another candidate to be a punt returner or kick returner. He’ll figure to be behind CB Prince Amukamara, CB Corey Webster, CB Terrell Thomas and even CB Aaron Ross if Hosley doesn’t show much in training camp. To get Hosley to have more of an impact on the field, they might insert him as a returner.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Giants actually do, especially with who will be the kick returner. Randle will probably be the full-time punt returner, but asking Wilson to be the starting running back and the kick returner isn’t asking too much to me. Wilson will split carries with RB Andre Brown so Wilson can provide on special teams as well.
We all remember the record-breaking performance from Wilson against the New Orleans Saints late in the season. The Giants can use a little more of that kind of play.