The Baltimore Ravens haven’t had a fearsome returner since the days on Jacoby Jones, but Cyrus Jones may be able to fill those shoes moving forward.
The NFL is devoid of elite talents on special teams in the return game. Stars like Patrick Peterson and Tyreek Hill aren’t used nearly as much because of their total value and an effort to limit injuries, with some like Tyler Lockett and Desmond King being exceptions to this. There are a few special team aces like Andre Roberts and Cordarelle Patterson currently, but the Baltimore Ravens are hoping Cyrus Jones can turn into a feared return man in 2019.
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Jones was a player I recently highlighted as a sleeper candidate to become a breakout star for the Ravens in 2019, and his big-play ability is the biggest reason why. Short of one major area of weakness in Jones’ game, which we will address later, there’s little to complain about.
While Jones is lacking track speed, Jones has above-average quickness and the acceleration to leave defenders in the dust. Take a look at his 70-yard punt return touchdown for Baltimore last season yourself and tell me that doesn’t excite you.
Cyrus Jones’ days as an excellent punt returner date back to his tenure at the University of Alabama. During his senior season, Jones averaged 12.6 yards per attempt and scored four touchdowns. Any time someone brings up the name Cyrus Jones, it’s nearly impossible not to talk about his return ability.
At the same time, it’s hard not to complain about Jones’ tendency to fumble the football. In 2016 (his rookie season) with the New England Patriots, Jones coughed up the ball five times. That kind of uncertainty naturally left him in the doghouse, where he spent nearly all of his 2017 campaign.
However, after the Patriots finally cut ties with Jones in 2018, Baltimore scooped him up to kick the tires on him and were treated to something special. Jones still had a fumble in 11 games with the Ravens, but we also saw that remarkable punt return touchdown that got us all excited. That explosiveness was there; something Ravens Flock hasn’t seen in quite some time…
Not since the days of Jacoby Jones have the Baltimore Ravens had a punt returner to get excited over. With no offense to Chris Moore, who has been adequate for the team, there simply isn’t a guy who can break “the big one” often enough. Perhaps Cyrus Jones can be the change.
There won’t be too many others competing with Jones for return reps, so all he has to do is not screw it up and the gig is his. If he can find a way to cut down on his turnovers, Jones could become a media darling and highlight king. Everyone loves a good special teams returner, it’s something everyone loves to see, and the Baltimore Ravens might have theirs in Cyrus Jones.