Grading special teams positions for the Atlanta Falcons in 2022
- Avery Williams
And last, but certainly not least, we have the Atlanta Falcons punt return position that was handled by Avery Williams.
Williams is a special punt returner and established himself as maybe the best in the game last season. His stats were stellar as you can see ahead (minimum 5 returns – 47 qualified):
- Returns: 18 (T23rd)
- Return yds: 292 (10th)
- Average: 16.2 (1st)
- 20+ yds: 3 (T5th w/ 5 players)
- 40+ yds 1 (T3rd w/ 5 players)
- Long: 56 (3rd)
- Fair catches: 19 (T7th most w/ 3 players) 16
Like I said, Avery Williams was spectacular. Despite having just 18 return opportunities (because, after all, the Falcons defense wasn’t known for forcing punts), he was able to put up the tenth most return yards.
He also had averaged the most return yards per punt return in the NFL and it wasn’t even close as he was a full three yards ahead of second place Khalif Raymond of the Lions. For comparison, three yards is the difference between being ranked 2nd and being ranked 17th this past regular season.
Sure, he didn’t have a punt return touchdown, but neither did 28 other teams. If you are looking for the best punt returner over the course of a full season, look no further than Avery Williams.