Chicago Bears Position Battles: Kick/Punt Returner
Spurlock has been basically just a kick/punt returner since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2006. Last year Spurlock spent 10 games with the Lions as their primary kick & punt returner but put up mediocre statistics. He averaged 22.5 yards per kick return (17th in the NFL) and 6.6 yards per punt (20th). In 2012 Spurlock was much more effective with a 25.7 ypr on kicks and a 17.1 ypr average on punts with the Chargers both of which would have been near the best in the league if he had enough attempts to qualify. Spurlock also returned both a kick and a punt for a TD in 2012. If the Bears get the 2012 version of Spurlock, he has a good shot to win the kick returner job but the 2o13 version probably won’t be on the roster long.
Edwards is a former QB from Appalachian St and a 3rd round pick of the Panthers in 2010. The Panthers attempted to convert Edwards to wide receiver, but he only had 6 catches in 4 years so that didn’t really pan out. Edwards hasn’t had much success as a returner either. In 2011, the last time Edwards returned punts, he averaged just 5.5 ypr which was 26th out of 28 returners with enough punts to qualify. Edwards was a part-time kick returner for the Panthers in 2012 and only averaged 21.7 ypr, good for 32nd in the league (dead last). Based on the stats and the few times I’ve seen him play, I am not expecting Edwards to win either job.
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Most Chicagoan’s want Lynch on the roster in some capacity since he is a local and was a winner at both Mt Carmel and Northern Illinois. Lynch was a QB at both schools, but his days under center are over. He is being converted to running back, but the competition there is fierce so his best shot to make the roster might be as a return specialist. Lynch has no experience as a returner in college, so he is a long shot. He did rush for 1,920 yards last year so he has talent with the ball in his hands and I’m not betting against him.
On 22 kick returns over three years in college Perry averaged 23.3 ypr, which is just about average at the college level. It’s a small sample size and Perry has better speed than anyone on this list except Williams so I think he will get at least a chance, but he’s a long shot.