I see a lot of discussion about the Jets needing to draft a punt/kick returner in 2014, or possibly needing to bring in a wide receiver who could take over return duties. After a year marred by Josh Cribbs and a motley crew of defensive backs and scrubs who are not typical ball returners, the Jets ended the season with Titans scrub Darius Reynaud, who dropped his first opportunity, and never really carried a ball out of the endzone since. There were moments where Jeremy Kerley gained decent yardage on returns, Kyle Wilson held his own, and even Antonio Cromartie took several long strides for nice gains, but no one met the potential that Josh Cribbs, or an uninjured Mike Goodson, had returning kicks on a consistent basis. So naturally, the Jets need a new return man.
I submit that 2014's return man is already on the roster. His name is Saalim Hakim.
Saalim Hakim, the younger brother of Kurt Warner's return man Az-Zahir Hakim, was an undrafted free agent out of Palomar College, a small school in California, who transfered to Tarleton State in 2011, and played one year in the UFL. After a few practice squad opportunities with the Cowboys, Rams, and Saints, Hakim found his way to the Jets squad this year before being promoted with three games left in the season. While Hakim's numbers are not great on the season, and he had a huge tackle for loss on an unsuccessful play, its hard not to pick up on his best attribute: his speed.
At Palomar College, Hakim produced a 40 time of 4.33-for comparison purposes, Goodson ran a 4.46. Hakim was a natural asset on special teams as well, using his speed in the UFL to catch up to the opposing team's punt returner. His hands appear to be above average and his speed will help him return the ball upfield with ease. Another positive about Hakim is that he is only 24 years old(actually today, February 1, 2014, is his 24th birthday). I have to believe that if the Jets put Hakim into the return man position he will reward them with several yards for years to come. Hakim also comes very cheap, and is a nice healthy alternative to Mike Goodson, Josh Cribbs, Clyde Gates, and each defensive back the Jets had return kicks.
What do you think?