And so, we wrap up the Position Ranking Roulette for 2021 by covering the best special teamers in the league. For this ranking, I won't be doing a collective top 12, but I will be ranking the top 2 players at each general special teams position. This list will cover:
General Special Teams Players
I believe this will give us a better view at who made the biggest impact on special teams this past season, and will take position specific attributes into account rather than comparing unlike roles and responsibilities. With that said, let's take a peak at the best special teamers in the final 2021 edition of the NFL PRR!
Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire
1. Justin Tucker
Tucker had another historic year and is well on track to become the best kicker in NFL history. The highest paid kicker ever posted a league high 94.6% field goal percentage, he went 6/6 from 50+ yards, 32/32 on extra points, and hit the longest field goal in NFL history at 66 yards!!! The man is a machine and proves time and time again why he's the best in the business.
2. Daniel Carlson
Carlson had a great year as well, and was the most clutch kicker in the league this year.
He also made 40 of 43 attempts in 16 games, recording a 93% field goal percentage, which is the 2nd highest in NFL history for kickers who made 40+ field goals in a season (trialing only Neil Rackers who went 40/42). The future is bright for this young stud, as he looks to break more records behind a high-powered offense.
1. Michael Dickson
Dickson continues to prove he's an elite punter after putting up back to back seasons with incredible volume and consistency. On 83 punts, he averaged 46.9 yards with 40 punts landing inside the 20. His longest punt traveled 68 yards, and he ranked in the top 10 in net yards per punt at 41.7.
2. AJ Cole
Cole is another young stud taking the league by storm, and we may see the beginnings of another dominant kicker-punter duo for the Raiders, similar to Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski. On 64 punts, Cole led the NFL averaging 50 yards per punt and hitting a long of 71 yards. He only recorded 7 touchbacks and put 28 punts inside the 20. The only reason I don't give him the nod over Dickson is that his difference between punt yards and net yards on average is pretty large. He had a net of 42.5 yards, which could mean he didn't have as much hangtime on his punts as others. Regardless, he has a monster leg and changed the game multiple times for the Raiders this year.
1. Josh Harris
Harris had one of his best seasons snapping yet, as he took home 2nd team All-Pro honors and made the Pro Bowl. He totaled 7 tackles on the year, which was more than any other snapper in the league. He also flashed that he can still make some solid blocks, even as he gets up there in age. He finds a new home in LA with the Chargers, and hopes to finish his career strong there.
Photo: AP Photo/Danny Karnik
2. Luke Rhodes
Rhodes proved again that he is the best snapper in the NFL, but he just had a lack of plays made to show for it that we normally see from him. He was awarded 1st team All-Pro, and that's mainly due to his freak athleticism and unreal snapping ability. Anyone that follows Luke knows he'll pancake you and fly down field and make a tackle on the same play, and that's a rare talent at the long snapper position.
1. Braxton Berrios
The former Patriot made some incredible plays this season, and did his best damage as a returner. On 28 kick returns, he totaled 852 yards and 1 TD, averaging 30.4 yards per return, the best rate in the NFL. Even if we take away his touchdown return, he would still average 27.8 yards per return and that would still lead the league. He also added 15 returns for 201 yards on punts, averaging 13.4 yards per return. He was a demon when he got space, and proved that on special teams and offense.
2. Andre Roberts
Roberts continues to show the aging vet still has what it takes to blow past opposing kickoff units. On 37 returns, he amassed a TD and 1,010 yards, the most return yards in the league. He wasn't as effective as in the punt return game, but that doesn't diminish his ability to turn on the jets on kick returns.
General Special Teams Players
1. EJ Speed
With a last name like that, you better be a playmaker, and that's exactly what EJ is. He totaled 11 tackles, while also scooping and scoring not 1, but 2 blocked punts! In both games where he scored, the Colts won by one possession. It didn't make a difference in the long run since they missed playoffs, but he's a guy we should all keep our eyes on in 2022.
2. JT Gray
JT was a special teams weapon for the Saints, as he recorded the most tackles on special teams in the NFL this year with 19. He also graded very highly on special teams reps per PFF, as he recorded an 83.9 overall grade. He should be a staple piece on the Saints specials units for a long time.
Photo: Michael Hebert/New Orleans Saints
Some guys that just missed out on the list were Kene Nwagnu, Nick Folk, Jack Fox, and Bryan Anger. Shout to Kene as he only played in 11 games and had 23 returns, but totaled 579 yards and 2 TDs on kickoff. Not bad for minimal opportunities.
As I've stated previously, these rankings are based on last season and last season only! In a few weeks, I'll be dropping my top 25 PRR before the season starts. Until then, be on the lookout for my fantasy football outlook!