Skip to main content

2015 NFL Draft: Top six return-specialist prospects

As everyone should know, Wednesday is tax day. (We'll pause here for those who need to get their return in the mail.)

In honor of tax day (and, yes, we get the fact that "honoring" tax day is really pushing it), we're taking a look at six prospects in the 2015 NFL Draft that have added value because of their return skills.

WR Nelson Agholor, USC

Particulars: 6-foot-0, 198 pounds; 4.42 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The skinny: Agholor is one of the top receivers in the draft and is coming off a 104-catch junior season. But he also showed great ability as a punt returner in his final two seasons at USC, averaging a combined 14.6 yards per return, with four TDs. He doesn't have elite speed, but he does run well and is extremely quick, especially in tight spaces. He's one of the draft's fastest risers, according to NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock.

WR Mario Alford, West Virginia

Particulars: 5-8 1/2, 180; 4.43 in the 40 at the combine.
The skinny: Alford, who spent two years at WVU after transferring from junior college, has good speed, though he often spends too much time going east-west instead of north-south. Alford was a state 100-meter champ in high school in Georgia. He has some value as a receiver, and his kickoff-return ability -- he took two back for scores in 2014 -- adds to his value.

WR Kaelin Clay, Utah

Particulars: 5-10, 195; 4.51 in the 40 at the combine.
The skinny: He played just his senior season at Utah after transferring from a junior college. He is raw as a receiver and needs refinement. But his return ability could lead to some teams giving him a chance to develop as a receiver. Clay was a sprinter of some renown in high school in California, with personal-best times of 10.46 in the 100 meters and 21.07 in the 200. Clay was fifth in the nation in punt returns (15.04-yard average on 23 attempts, with three TDs) last season, and he also had one TD on a kickoff return.

WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

Particulars: 5-10, 182; 4.40 in the 40 at the combine.
The skinny: Lockett is the leading receiver in school history (receptions and receiving yardage), and his return ability is sort of icing on the cake. While Lockett lacks ideal size, he is quick and runs good routes. He led the nation in punt-return average last season (19.04 yards, with two TDs), and it was his first season in that role. Previously, Lockett had been a dangerous kick returner, with four TDs in that facet.

RB Marcus Murphy, Missouri

Particulars: 5-8, 193; 4.61 in the 40 at the combine.
The skinny: His 40 time was surprisingly slow at the combine, and he improved it to the low 4.5s at his pro day. He has excellent quickness and elusiveness, and had seven return TDs -- four on punts, three on kickoffs -- in his career at Missouri. He averaged 29.7 yards on kickoff returns last season.

WR J.J. Nelson, UAB

Particulars: 5-10, 156; 4.28 in the 40 at the combine.
The skinny: He is almost painfully skinny, but he also has elite speed (his 40 time was the fastest at the combine this year). He isn't much as a receiver, but his return ability is enticing. He had six return TDs -- five on kickoffs, one on punts -- in his college career. Nelson led the nation in kickoff returns last season, averaging 38.3 yards on 22 returns, and also ranked 15th in punt returns. He was the only player in the top 15 in both categories.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content