Guessing The Starters: Special Teams

So, we’ve guessed the starting lineups for offense and defense in the past few days, so to finish up this three-part series, it’s time to guess the special teams unit. Just like the previous two units, we’ll have the “Projection”, the player who I believe the coaching staff will select, and then “My Pick”, the player I would choose if I had the power to do so. For many of the positions, these will be the same player, so don’t adjust your glasses thinking you’re seeing double. To go with the picks, I’ll explain my thought process.

Projections after the jump.

Projection: Shayne Graham
My Pick: Shayne Graham
The Reason:
When the Ravens signed Graham, I was ecstatic. I thought that Billy Cundiff was not the answer and I was giddy to see the news that Cundiff had been cut. When it turned into a position battle, I was shocked, but now, my opinion on Cundiff has changed quite a bit. He’s done extremely well, but Graham’s gotta be the pick here. He’s been one of the best in the NFL for several seasons, and he’ll be extremely efficient for the Ravens this season.

Projection: Sam Koch
My Pick: Sam Koch
The Reason:
Forget the fact that Koch is the only punter on the roster, and he should still be obvious choice. The Nebraska alum is one of the NFL’s best at pinning opponents deep in their own territory

Kick Returner:
Projection: Jalen Parmele
My Pick: Jalen Parmele
The Reason:
I would pick Lardarius Webb if health wasn’t an issue, but because it is, you’ve gotta go with Parmele. David Reed, the rookie out of Utah, has returned two kicks so far in the preseason, but Parmele is a more experienced returner and to put it simply, he’s just better. Now this would change if Willis McGahee were to be traded, but that speculation seems like it’s dead now.

Punt Returner:
Projection: Prince Miller
My Pick: Chris Carr
The Reason:
The punt returning situation is an odd one. Prince Miller had the big return against Carolina in the first preseason game, and because of his role in the secondary probably being pretty limited, he should end up as the main guy. I like Chris Carr because of his track record, and I think that having the privilege of returning kicks would help him out as a cornerback, giving him some assurance that the pressure’s not on him to be a superstar, and helping him establish himself as a solid corner.

Long Snapper:
Projection: Morgan Cox
My Pick: Morgan Cox
The Reason:
After releasing Matt Katula two weeks ago, the Ravens put all of their long snapping responsibilities on the shoulders (or the wrists) on Cox, an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee. Katula struggled last season, and I was one of many calling for his release. Hopefully this is the only time we have to mention Cox on here this year. If he does his job well, and doesn’t cost the Ravens any wins this year, he won’t get any criticism from me.

Projection: Sam Koch
My Pick: Sam Koch
The Reason:
Sam Koch is the NFL’s best player because he’s not only one of the five best punters in the league, but also the league’s best holder. All season long, he had to reign in piss-poor snaps from Matt Katula and hold the ball well enough so that “Slick Stevie” Hasuchka and Billy Cundiff could kick their field goals. While there were some bad snaps that caused misses, the holder was never at fault. Sam Koch is awesome.

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Tags: Billy Cundiff Matt Katula Morgan Cox Ravens Special Teams Sam Koch Shayne Graham

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