It sounds like things are shaping up for Titans rookie Adoree Jackson to handle the kickoff and punt return duties in 2017, as expected. Jackson was drafted mainly to help fix up an ailing secondary, but brought the added bonus of a dynamic, electrifying return man as a bonus. That bonus may have been what made Jon Robinson and the Titans ultimately decide on Jackson with the 18th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Just a little over a week into camp, Jackson appears to be running away with both of the return gigs. Everyone in attendance over the weekend raved about Jackson’s ability in the return game.
Adoree' Jackson with some fancy footwork on punt return to the 30. Went about 20 yards. Then he takes a kickoff about 45 yards. Wow. #Titans— Jason Wolf (@JasonWolf) August 6, 2017
This final tweet from Rexrode is where I’m at — why not?
Just have Adoree return everything.— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) August 6, 2017
Eric Weems was brought in before Jackson and was thought of as a potential solution in the return game, but he’s a far cry from what Jackson brings. Rookie Taywan Taylor has also gotten some return work.
In three years at USC, Jackson put together four punt return touchdowns and four kickoff return touchdowns. He averaged 27.1 yards per kickoff and 12.6 yards per punt return. Jackson was 3rd in the NCAA with an average of 15.8 yards per punt return in 2016.
Taywan Taylor only had six career kick returns in college. Weems put up decent numbers last season with the Atlanta Falcons, but hasn’t scored a touchdown since 2010.
All that to say, I want Adoree Jackson returning everything that he possibly can. There’s no reason for him not to to be the team’s full time returner. It’s been since Marc Mariani’s early career that the Titans have had a true difference maker in the return game. The team tried to rekindle that magic last season, but to no avail.
Remember how electric Adam “Pacman” Jones was with the ball in his hands? The Titans might just have that once again, without the off the field headache.