We've heard this story before. The Cowboys draft a guy in the first round and tell us that part of the reason the player was picked so high is because he brings an extra dimension to the field...returner skills. That was Felix Jones just a few years ago. Dez Bryant is now being touted as the guy who will be a dynamic punt and kick returner for the Cowboys. I'll believe it when I see it.
Remember when we heard all of the same talk about Felix Jones a few years ago? Felix was used on kick returns for a while and actually had a few really good returns but he was quickly phased out of the return game. The coaches and owner always mentioned that they didn't want to risk injury by using him on returns.
Well, a few years later, here we are again. The Cowboys found a dynamic playmaker in the draft who has the ability to not only return kicks but, this time, also return punts. The Cowboys are loaded on offense. I would find it hard to believe that the Cowboys could justify keeping Dez Bryant off the special teams return units. At least as long as Roy Williams is still on the roster. The Cowboys are loaded at wide receiver. And a good return can be the difference between points scored and another drive ending in a punt.
I expect to see Dez Bryant used as the primary punt returner. There is no other player on the roster that comes close to what he can do on punt returns. Terence Newman is up in years and shouldn't be put back there anymore. So the job belongs to Dez. And while we are at it let's make him the #1 kick returner as well. I could see the kick return job eventually becoming Akwasi Owusu-Ansah's, but he will be recovering from shoulder surgery until training camp. He'll be lucky to be ready for the start of the regular season.
I expect to see Dez play the #3 receiver role this season. He'll get playing time at receiver but his value won't be so high that the Cowboys can't afford to risk him on returns. He was drafted as high as he was partly to be a returner. Now the Cowboys have to remember that and use him to their advantage in the return game.