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Cowboys Likely Need a New Punt Returner in 2022

Kickoff and punt return duties are niches that often don’t get talked about much leading up to the . But with one of their most-utilized return men gone and another moving into a critical offensive role in 2022, the Dallas could be thinking about their next punt return specialist as they prepare for next week’s event.

Two of Cowboys’ busiest guys on returns the last two years have been receivers and . They have combined for 54 of the team’s 57 returned punts since 2020.

Lamb has been the primary PR since arriving in Dallas. He returned 24 punts as a compared to just five for Wilson. They shared duties more evenly last year as CeeDee moved into a primary role on .

Now ’s gone and ’s probably not coming back until October.. With Lamb becoming a critical element to the Cowboys’ offensive solvency, the undisputed number-one receiver, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll continue to be risked on punt returns.

Unfortunately, Wilson is no longer here to pick up the workload. He signed with the Dolphins last March as a .

That leaves Dallas without a bona fide option to return punts in 2022. Before CeeDee arrived the top punt returners were and , both long gone.

Kickoffs are another matter. has that job locked up for one more year and hopefully will be back as another option. But Pollard has never been asked to handle punts in his three seasons with the Cowboys, and there must be a good reason why given his athleticism.

Newly-signed also won’t help, having not been a return man for the Steelers at all in his four season. And while keeps finding his way back on the through special teams, returning isn’t his game,

This need could come into play as Dallas builds its 2022 draft class. It could be the tiebreaker between receivers they’re considering; a very real need on the roster that one of these rookies can hopefully fill.

With Gallup expected back for most of the season and Washington here for experienced depth, Dallas may be leery of using a high pick at WR for a guy who’s offensive role could be limited. But if he can provide additional value as a return specialist, that helps justify the pick.

Even if the a WR high who doesn’t offer much PR potential, their bevy of 5th-round picks could be another opportunity to strike. Someone like Tennessee’s Velus Jones, with 4.31 speed and a dynamic special teamer with limited game at WR, could be a worthy Day 3 pick if available.

Hopefully Dallas isn’t going to revert to the days of just sending out there to signal for fair catches. Improving field position through the return game is a basic and yet underrated aspect of winning football. The Cowboys need every they can find to be competitive in 2022, and hopefully they find one in the return game through the upcoming draft.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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3 Comments

  1. Jarvis Landry, Keelan Cole, and Adam Humphries are all still FA’s and under 30 years old. They’d also fill that hole at Slot WR. Landry is probably out of our price range, but the other two should be affordable and still available after the draft.

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