Every offseason there are names thrown around of who will be a breakout player on the Ravens. This year, the trending player is wide receiver Breshad Perriman, almost by default. Over the next couple of days, I will be examining all three phases of the game, and determine who could be a breakout player whose name isn’t tossed around as much for each. This is the third and final edition, the special teams.
Well to be up front, this isn't exactly a darkhorse pick. Options here are at a premium. All in all, my pick for dark horse breakout player for the special teams is Keenan Reynolds. It seems like the default pick, but I'm not sure there is a better option.
Reynolds is a rookie who the Ravens selected in the sixth round of the draft. Playing quarterback at Navy, all Reynolds did set the NCAA record for most touchdowns scored in a career with 88. Navy runs a triple option system on offense. The majority of plays in a triple option system are running plays where the quarterback has multiple options of players (usually three) to hand the ball off to, or keep it himself, based on the defense.
Reynolds experience in college sets him up well to be a returner. In the triple option system, he learned how to read the field and find the open space, all skills that translate to returning.
Reynolds is just a pure playmaker with the ball in his hands. He is quick and slippery. At the combine, Reynolds ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and in his senior year at Navy, Reynolds forced 23 missed tackles. His speed and ability to avoid would-be tacklers, make Reynolds the clear option at returner for the Ravens. Watch Reynolds rip the defense to shreds here .
here The only knock on Reynolds is that he doesn't have enough to strength to break tackles, but being elusive is more important than strength on kick returns. No one touched Jacoby Jones on the second half kickoff of the Super Bowl, and we all know how that play ended. The other knock is that Reynolds ball security is shaky, and that is worrisome. Only time will tell whether or not Reynolds can iron it out.
Overall, Reynolds is the best returner the Ravens have had since Jacoby Jones was on the roster. Reynolds likes to start at the position and don't be surprised to see him emerge as a stud. Seattle Seahawks rookie Tyler Lockett returned two kicks for touchdowns on his way to the Pro Bowl. I'm not saying we should pencil in Reynolds to burst onto the NFL scene in that same way, but it's definitely possible.
My prediction for Reynolds is to have at least one kick/punt returned for a touchdown. I'm also going to predict Reynolds averages 24.5 yards per return on kicks, and eight yards per return on punts.