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Could Andre Roberts be the Jets’ answer at returner?

Atlanta Falcons v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Jets signed 30-year old former Falcons wide receiver/returner Andre Roberts, presumably to lead the charge in the race for the #1 returner spot to start the year. Is Roberts capable of reviving this lethargic unit? Let’s look at some of his numbers.

His raw career production:

As a receiver: 244 receptions, 460 targets (53% catch rate), 2911 yards (11.9 per reception, 6.33 per target), 14 touchdowns, 24.5 yards per game.

As a returner: 115 punt returns, 8.1 yards per return, 2 touchdowns. 124 kick returns, 23.4 yards per return, 1 touchdown.

  • Roberts has posted a 9.5 punt return average over his 47 punt returns with the Lions and Falcons over the past two years, including 2 scores for Detroit in 2016. If we extend back to 2015 (though he didn’t have any punt returns that year), among players with at least 40 returns in that span, Roberts ranks 6th of 25 in punt return average.
  • Don’t be fooled, though. Roberts’ career year in 2016, in which he averaged 12.3 yards per punt return for the Lions, bloats his career numbers. If you remove that one season, his career punt return average otherwise is 7.2, a pretty uninspiring mark. He hasn’t averaged above 7.5 in any other season.
  • Roberts leads the league with a total of 71 kick returns over the past two seasons. However, he averaged only 22.6 yards per return; 10th of 12 players with at least 30 returns in that span.
  • His career average of 23.4 yards per kick return is only 15th of 17 active qualifiers with a similar career volume of returns. If you subtracted his lone touchdown, a 2015 score which was a length of 99 yards, his average would dip to 22.6 yards per return, which would tie him for last on the aforementioned list.
  • Here are the DVOA rankings of the special teams units spearheaded by Roberts over the past few seasons:

2017 (ATL): Punt Return - 25th, Kick Return - 25th

2016 (DET): Punt Return - 3rd, Kick Return - 15th

2014 (WAS): Punt Return - 21st, Kick Return - 25th

  • Including the regular season and playoffs, Roberts has 15 career fumbles on just 503 touches between offense and special teams.

Roberts’ tremendous experience as a returner will certainly put him at the forefront of the race throughout the offseason, but we’ll have to see if he can buck the trends of his career numbers and produce an effective returning season for a team that is sore for one.


Will Andre Roberts be the Jets’ returner Week 1?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Yes, and he’ll have a good season
    (181 votes)
  • 31%
    Yes, but he won’t be good/will be replaced
    (169 votes)
  • 16%
    No, someone else will win the job but they’ll perform poorly
    (87 votes)
  • 18%
    No, someone else will win the job and they’ll perform well
    (97 votes)
534 votes total Vote Now