Jamie Dukes of NFL Network offered his opinion on who he thinks the top five best return men in the NFL are. And at No. 4 on the list was our very own DeSean Jackson. In fact, Dukes had Jackson ahead of Chicago's Devin Hester who was No. 5.
Jackson averaged 8.8 yards per return in the regular season last year and took a 68-yard punt to the house for a score against the Redskins. On three different occasions, including the playoffs, Jackson had a return of 60 yards or more. Quite impressive.
The question is whether Jackson will retain his punt return duties in 2009. He unequivocally stated during the OTAs that he wants to remain the punt returner. Of course, there are two things that could be in his way. After his stellar rookie season on offense, Jackson's role as a wide receiver is expected to grow even more. He was the most dynamic receiver, in my opinion, during the OTAs. The other barrier is the addition of Jeremy Maclin. The first-round draft pick scored three touchdowns on punt returns in just two seasons at Missouri and fielded many punts during the OTAs.
It's amazing how far the return game has come for the Eagles in just two seasons. After struggling to find a dangerous option at either return position in 2007, the Eagles now have weapons and depth at both punt and kickoff returner spots. Quintin Demps and Ellis Hobbs will battle it out for the kickoff returner job. Former special teams coordinator and current defensive line coach Rory Segrest has to be just a little jealous of new special teams coordinator Ted Daisher.
By the way, Dukes ranked Cleveland's Josh Cribbs as the league's best returner ahead of the Jets' Leon Washington and San Diego's Darren Sproles.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:00 a.m., July 15