After parting ways with Darren Sproles and Lance Moore this offseason, the New Orleans Saints no longer have any experienced punt returners on the roster. Third-year running back Travaris Cadet has shown some ability as a kickoff returner over the past two years, and the Saints may try him out in the punt-return job, as well. Or they might make a kick returner a priority in the draft. New Orleans could certainly use some more juice in their return game after being middle-of-the-road in that area in recent years, even when Sproles was around. The Saints could go one of two routes in the draft. They could target a top wide receiver that is capable of playing a dual role, or they could snag one of the top pure returners in the middle or later rounds. If they choose the first route, three receivers could potentially fit the bill in Round 1 – LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr., USC’s Marqise Lee and Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks. All three of those prospects would be worthy of the Saints’ pick at No. 27 based on their receiving ability alone, since a big-play receiver ranks among New Orleans’ top needs. Of those three, only Beckham was a standout punt returner in college, averaging more than nine yards per return over his final two seasons, with two touchdown returns in 2012. Cooks was a part-time punt returner last year, while Lee was more of a kickoff return specialist with two career kickoff returns for touchdowns. Later in the draft, ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said there are two players that stand out above all others as the best return men in this year’s class – Kent State’s Dri Archer and Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas.
Return man for Saints in draft?
ESPN | Apr 3