The Ravens kickoff game will be getting a boost in 2007, as rookie WR Yamon Figurs has been tearing it up when it comes to showing game-breaking speed in the kickoff return department. Pro Football Weekly reports that Figurs is “all but a lock” to make the teams final roster with his speed in the kickoff return department being the main reason. While he likely won’t see much playing time making catches from Steve McNair, he can be a major contributor in the special teams department, and giving the Ravens good field position will be a boost.
Figurs was the teams 3rd round pick out of Kansas State, and the 24-year-old has been impressing coaches and it looks like they could have a steal with his ability on returns. Figurs along with Bears return star and now wide out Devin Hester were track stars in Florida, so he is in rare company when it comes to speed. Hester had to be in the back of the Ravens’ minds when they took Figus back on draft day. He has already broken two long kickoff returns this preseason, and he has the Ravens coaching staff excited about what is sure to come in the regular season.
“[Hester] opened the gates for all return men,” Figurs said. “It showed NFL teams how important special teams are. In the NFL, the talent level on offense and defense is the same, so if you get a touchdown on special teams, that’s a game-changer, and Devin showed that.” So far he has averaged 36.8 yards on four kickoff returns this preseason, recording a 36-yarder in Saturday night’s 13-7 loss to the host Washington Redskins. “His speed is eye-popping, and that’s what we drafted him for,” Ravens coach Brian Billick said. “We’ll continue to see if he can expand on that.”