Rookie CB Jayron Hosley has the potential to beat out Domenik Hixon and Jerrel Jernigan for the Giants' punt return duties this season. At Virginia Tech, Hosley averaged 12 yards per attempt and had TDs of 64 and 80 yards.
Last season, the Giants - as a team - only returned 28 punts in the regular season. That was good (or bad) enough for 29th overall in that category in the NFL. When they did return a punt, they only gained 6.1 yards per attempt, ranking them 29th is that category as well.
A lot could be blamed on the fact that their primary punt returner - Domenik Hixon - went down for the season with a knee injury after only two games. Hixon returned 3 punts in those two games for a total of 31 yards with a long of 18.
In Hixon's absence, several players fielded punts: Victor Cruz, Antrel Rolle, Will Blackmon and Aaron Ross. None did anything of significance. Ross actually had only one more return (14) that he had fair catches (13).
To be frank, the Giants' return game was simply stale without Hixon, who, incidentally, is the last Giants' player to score a TD on a punt return, taking one 79 yards vs. Dallas on Dec. 16, 2009.
With Ross and Blackmon gone and Hixon back and seemingly healthy, it would appear he should have the inside track on the return job. But the Giants are not taking any chances. One second-year player (Jerrel Jernigan) and two rookies (Jayron Hosley and Rueben Randle) also fielded punts in minicamp.
Jernigan is fast and shifty, but had problems last season securing the football. Hosley short and extremely quick, but is an unknown entity to the Giants at this point. Randle will be asked to step up in the offense - and with Hakeem Nicks in doubt for the start of the season - may not be exposed to possible injury by the coaches on special teams.