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Top 10 Punt Returners in NFL 2023 Rankings

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By admin | June 7, 2023

The game of football is filled with big play potential as well as plays that can not only make an impact but are game changing. One of those big-time plays is the punt return which can not only flip the field position for the receiving team but turn into a touchdown in a blink of an eye.

Over each NFL season the game has seen its fair share of top tier punt returners who had the ability to make a big play on any return; this includes the group landing on the Top 10 NFL Punt Returners 2023 Rankings list for the upcoming 2023 NFL season.

As the 2023 NFL season approaches new names will present themselves among the best returns to join the likes of the group that lands among this list.

However, it is hard to look past the top three punt returners for 2023 as each of the top three NFL players posted one punt return touchdown.

While it is uncertain how punt returns will look after new rules have been inserted leading into the upcoming season, one thing is for certain is this group of returners will look to take one to the house on every punt.

Those three punt returners include Marcus Jones of the New England Patriots, Donovan People-Jones of the Cleveland Browns, and Kalif Raymond of the Detroit Lions. Here is a look at the Top 10 NFL Punt Returners 2023 Rankings list:

Honorable Mention

Desmond King

Team: Houston Texans

2022 Stats: 309 Yards, 31 Long, 9.4 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

Landing just outside of the Top 10 NFL Punt Returners 2023 Rankings list is the Houston Texans punt returner and cornerback Desmond King.

King, who played his college football for the Iowa Hawkeyes was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL draft. Since arriving to the Texans before the 2021 NFL season, King has been a factor both as a cornerback as well as the team’s primary punt returner.

That includes the 2022 NFL Season as King set a career high with 33 punt returns to go along with 309 punt return yards. Since arriving in the NFL King has been one of the top punt returners posting two punt returns for touchdowns.

Keisean Nixon

Team: Green Bay Packers

2022 Stats: 140 Yards, 11 Long, 12.7 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

A new name inserting himself into consideration as one of the top NFL returners is the Green Bay Packers cornerback and returner Keisean Nixon.

After posting just six combined returns since entering the NFL season in 2019, Nixon joined on with the Packers last season as the team’s primary returner, a move that paid off. The Packers posted 140 punt returns during just 11 punt returns while averaging 12.7 yards per punt return.

In addition to those numbers Nixon posted 1,009 kick return yards including one 105 kick return touchdown. With more opportunity potential in 2023, Nixon has a chance to shine as one of the best punt returners in the NFL.

Top 10 NFL Punt Returners

10. Trent Taylor

Team(s): Cincinnati Bengals

2022 Stats: 340 Yards, 33 Long, 10.3 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

Coming in at number 10 on the Top 10 NFL Punt Returners 2023 Rankings list is the Cincinnati Bengals punt returner and wide receiver Trent Taylor. Taylor, who is coming off his second 30 punt return season will look to continue his success in 2023.

Last season Taylor finished ranked 4th in the NFL in punt returns with 340 total punt returns while returning 33 total punts over the course of the NFL season. As a rookie in 2017, Taylor posted his only other NFL season with over 200 punt returns and 30 punt returns.

9. KaVontae Turpin

Team(s): Dallas Cowboys

2022 Stats: 303 Yards, 52 Long, 10.4 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

Entering the 2023 NFL season expectations are increasing for the former TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver KaVontae Turpin. Turpin joined the Dallas Cowboys after playing well in the USFL during the 2022 USFL season.

While Turpin was not a factor in the passing game, he was a big game changer in the return game finishing the season with 303 punt returns on 29 total punt returns including one 52-yard punt return.

In addition, Turpin posted 508 kick return yards on 21 kick returns. Turpin will enter the 2023 NFL season as the team’s primary returner with a potential to step up in the passing game.

8. Jaelon Darden

Team(s): Cleveland Browns

2022 Stats: 345 Yards, 24 Long, 10.5 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

After finishing the 2022 NFL season ranked 3rd in the NFL in total punt returns yard with 345 yards on 33 punts, Jaelon Darden will look to continue that success with the Cleveland Browns during the 2023 NFL season.

While it is yet to be determined if Darden or Donovan People-Jones will handle the punt return duties in 2023, one thing is for certain is both are talented punt returners who can turn a punt return into a big play.

Darden, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, posted 50 returns for the Buccaneers over his first two seasons before being claimed by the Browns towards the end of the 2022 NFL season. If Darden has an opportunity to return punt returns in 2023, the former North Texas star should continue to produce at a high level.

7. Braxton Berrios

Team(s): Miami Dolphins

2022 Stats: 240 Yards, 22 Long, 11.4 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

With the 2023 NFL season approaching one speedy crafty punt returner who should continue his success is Braxton Berrios who will take over return duties for the Miami Dolphins.

Berrios has averaged at least 11 yards per punt return in three of his first four seasons in the NFL while topping the 200-yard mark in each of those three seasons.

In addition to punt returning Berrios has handled the Jets primary kick returning duties over each of the past two NFL seasons as well as playing receiver in the teams passing attack.

The Dolphins will look to Berrios to continue his success as both a punt returner and kick returner in 2023 as the team looks to make a run at a Super Bowl Championship.

6. Ray-Ray McCloud III

Team(s): San Francisco 49ers

2022 Stats: 356 Yards, 35 Long, 10.8 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

Coming off finishing 2nd in the NFL in punt return yards with 356 during the 2022 NFL season, Ray-Ray McCloud III will look to improve those numbers during the 2023 NFL season.

Since arriving in the league during the 2018 NFL season, McCloud III has been a primary returner on his previous teams including both the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2020 and 2021 NFL seasons as well as with the San Francisco 49ers last season.

In each of the previous three seasons McCloud has posted at least 29 punt returns to go along with at least 298 punt return yards. The 49ers returner will look to improve on his 356 punt return yards during the upcoming 2023 NFL season.

5. DeAndre Carter

Team(s): Los Angeles Chargers

2022 Stats: 339 Yards, 28 Long, 11.7 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

Rounding out the Top 5 on the Top 10 NFL Punt Returners 2023 Rankings list is the Los Angeles Chargers punt returner DeAndre Carter.

Carter, who is entering his 6th NFL season and second season with the Chargers, was a bright spot for the team last season both as a wide receiver as well as a returner.

Since entering the season in 2018, Carter has posted at least 20 punt returns in three different NFL seasons including a career high 29 punt returns during the 2022 NFL season.

During the 29 return, Carter posted 339 punt return yards to go along with 17 fair catches and a season long 28 punt return. Carter should continue to be a factor in the Chargers return game entering the 2023 NFL season.

4. Avery Williams

Team(s): Atlanta Falcons

2022 Stats: 292 Yards, 56 Long, 16.2 Yards Per Return, 0 TD

Any player who can flip the outcome of a game with a single play is one that is well worth mentioning and that is the case with Avery Williams.

Williams who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons during the 2021 NFL Draft has handled the teams special teams return duties in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.

The Falcons returner posted a career high 292 punt return yards last season to go along with a league high 16.2 yards per punt return on 18 total punt returns. In addition to being a solid punt returner, Williams has also posted at least 313 yards in each of his two NFL seasons during kickoffs.

3. Donovan People-Jones

Team(s): Cleveland Browns

2022 Stats: 223 Yards, 76 Long, 12.4 Yards Per Return, 1 TD

As the 2023 NFL season approaches it is hard to know what to expect from the Cleveland Browns when it comes to their return game with two of the best punt returners both playing for them.

Nonetheless entering the season, it is hard to leave Donovan People-Jones off the list of the best punt returners after the third-year receiver posted a career high 223 punt return yards to go with his first career punt return touchdown. The Browns returner will look to improve on his 12.4 yards per return average during the 2023 NFL Season.

2. Kalif Raymond

Team(s): Detroit Lions

2022 Stats: 264 Yards, 47 Long, 13.2 Yards Per Return, 1 TD

One of three NFL punt returners to return a punt return for a touchdown last season is the Detroit Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond. Raymond, who is entering his 7th NFL season has been pretty consistent over the three previous seasons posting at least 20 punt returns in each season to go along with at least 208 return yards.

Expectations are high entering the 2023 NFL season for the Lions after a strong performance last season including the team’s play on special teams. Raymond will look to improve on his 264 punt returns and one punt return touchdown in the upcoming season.

1. Marcus Jones

Team(s): New England Patriots

2022 Stats: 362 Yards, 84 Long, 12.5 Yards Per Return, 1 TD

In at number one on the Top 10 NFL Punt Returners 2023 Rankings list is the second year New England Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones.

Jones, who the Patriots selected during the 3rd round of the 2022 NFL Draft put together a solid season both on the defensive side of the football as well as in the punt return game.

Jones is coming off averaging 12.5 yards per punt return including a season high 84 punt return touchdown. In addition, Jones led all punt returners with 362 total punt return yards on 29 returns last season.

How would you rank these punt returners going into the 2023-2024 NFL season? Rank below to be added in the NFL Power Rankings.

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