Top 10 NFL specialists

Breaking down the most dynamic returners, kickers and punters

Updated: August 26, 2013, 12:23 PM ET
By Gary Horton | ESPN Insider

Jacoby Jones AP Photo/Charlie RiedelJacoby Jones averaged 9.2 yards per punt return last season for the Ravens.

We are now in an era where the most talented players in the kicking game can be the difference between a win and a loss. This was most evident in last year's Super Bowl. And while we have seen a lot of poor special-teams play so far in the preseason, expect that to improve dramatically once we reach Week 1.

To coincide with the ongoing #NFLRank countdown, the following is my list of the most dynamic special-teams players in the NFL who don't appear in one of the Top 100 rankings for offense or defense.


Jones
1. Jacoby Jones, Return Specialist (RS)
Baltimore Ravens

His explosive big plays always seemed to come at the right time in 2012. Jones averaged 30.7 yards per kickoff return and 9.2 yards per punt return with three touchdowns, including one in the Super Bowl. He has great speed and a burst that allows him to reach top speed quickly. He also plays for a head coach who puts a premium of having excellent players around him in the kicking game. Jones is also trying to claim the No. 2 wide receiver spot opposite Torrey Smith, so could that affect his return production in the season ahead.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.