The kick returner position last year for the Indianapolis Colts was a revolving door.
Over the course of 16 games, eight different players returned kickoffs with 10 returns being the highest for any of the Colts returnees (Cassius Vaughn).
The unit finally struck gold in the final week of the regular season when Deji Karim, three weeks removed from valet parking cars, took a kickoff back 101 yards against the Houston Texans.
Returns like that are something head coach Chuck Pagano wants to see at a more frequent rate in 2013 and the Colts took a step in that direction late in April’s NFL Draft.
Kerwynn Williams accounted for 3,392 kickoff returns yards in his first three seasons at Utah State and that electricity will undoubtedly be tried on special teams over the next few months.
“(Williams) had I think (135) returns and the next closest guy that we evaluated was at like 90, and he averaged over 25 yards per kickoff return,” Pagano said following the selection of Williams in the seventh round.
“We saw last game of the year what a kickoff return can do for you in the Houston game. It turned that whole thing around and blew that thing open when Deji returned that and this kid (Williams) can do that all day.”
In his first year as a starting running back at Utah State, Williams, who played behind a pair of future NFL running backs, did it all.
He rushed for 1,512 yards and also caught 45 passes for 697 yards and a total of 20 touchdowns.
Kickoff return duties had to be given up in 2012, in order to carry the load offensively, but Williams knows what will get him onto the Colts roster this fall.
“I can contribute on special teams so I think that’s a big thing that I want to look to establish myself on and I’m definitely excited to have the opportunity to come up there,” Williams said.
“I’m just looking to get up there and help the team in any way I can, whether it be returning kicks or covering kicks. I’m just trying to do my part to help make the team better.”
During the draft process, the Colts sent members of their personnel department and assistant special teams coach Brant Boyer out west to scout the elusive Williams.
It was a surprise to many in the Colts war room that Williams, Indianapolis’ No. 1 kick returner, was available come pick No. 230.
This weekend all the coaches will get a first hand look at what exactly goes into one of college football’s most dynamic playmakers.
“He brings a wrinkle to this team that could really help us and that’s as a returner. He’s exciting to watch as a runner and as a returner,” Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson said.
“We’re happy to get him because he fills a tremendous need and he’s also got some real value on third down.”
Tags: Brant Boyer, chuck pagano, Deji Karim, kerwynn williams, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog