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NFL Draft: Best special teamers available

Here’s a look at the top special teams players in the draft:

WR Sammy WatkinsClemson6-12114.401

Top receiver prospect also doubles as an electric kickoff returner. Averaged 22.9 yards on 60 kickoff returns in three seasons, including an 89-yard TD.

WR Odell Beckham Jr.LSU5-111984.431

Likely top-20 pick has added value as a punt returner, scoring two TDs as Tigers’ primary punt returner the past two seasons.

CB Justin GilbertOklahoma State6-02024.371

One of the top cornerback prospects also is an electric kickoff returner, with six TDs in four years with the Cowboys..

WR De’Anthony ThomasOregon5-91744.502-3

Diminutive speedster and likely slot receiver returned four kickoffs and one punt for TDs in three seasons with the Ducks..

RB Dri ArcherKent State5-81734.263-4

Hybrid slot receiver/running back ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the Combine and second-fastest of the last decade (4.26); returned four kickoffs for TDs.

WR John BrownPittsburg State5-101794.345-6

Division 2 speedster named conference’s special teams player of the year in 2013, and scored two kickoff return TDs and three punt return TDs in three seasons.

WR Bernard ReedyToledo5-81744.446-FA

Speedy slot receiver whose primary value might initially be as kick returner; scored three kickoff return TDs in 2012.

WR Jeremy GallonMichigan5-71854.496-FA

Small frame will drop him down draft despite big senior season (1,373 receiving yards, nine TDs) but returned kickoffs and punts at Michigan to help his value.

K Nate FreeseBoston College5-11185NA5-FA
Hard to predict if a kicker will get drafted, but Freese has as good a shot as any after hitting all 20 field goals as a senior (two from 50-plus) and 18 of 20 as a junior.
P Tom HornseyMemphis6-3221NA5-FA

Won the Ray Guy Award last year after averaging 45.2 yards per punt, with a long of 79.

Best of the rest: WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State (5-9; 189 pounds; 4.33; 1); WR Paul Richardson, Colorado (6-0; 175; 4.40; 2-3); K Anthony Fera, Texas (6-2; 208; NA; 5-free agent); K Chris Boswell, Rice (6-2; 210; NA; 5-free agent); P Pat O’Donnell, Miami (6-5; 220; NA; 5-free agent); P Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State (6-5; 222; NA; 5-free agent).

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 * underclassman.

Ben Volin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BenVolin
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