Lions’ Jamal Agnew Could Play Rare Role for Team in 2020

Jamal Agnew

Getty Jamal Agnew returns a kickoff in Philadelphia.

The Detroit Lions have a talented player capable of making a big impact in Jamal Agnew, and interestingly enough, he could be set to make one in every phase of the game this coming season.

While the Lions want Agnew to play some offense at wide receiver, the chance also exists for him to flip back to defense and play cornerback as well. One could imagine that type of scenario would come into play if the Lions struggle with injuries on the back end as they have in years past.

The comments on the matter were made by Darrell Bevell when speaking with reporters, and he said that he believes Agnew is capable of impacting both sides of the ball this fall.

Agnew will also likely continue to play a role on special teams for the Lions, as he’s proven to be one of the more dangerous punt returners in the league. Add it all up and it’s possible Agnew could be a true versatile weapon for the team this year.

That will be true no matter what side of the field he is selected to play on.

Jamal Agnew Made History With Special Teams

Agnew returned a punt for a score against the Denver Broncos back in December and made a little history in the process. With the touchdown, Agnew put himself amongst royalty in league history in terms of special teams players. Agnew’s 4 career special teams touchdowns, with one coming via a punt return and the others via kickoff, helped him join an exclusive club.

As the franchise pointed out, since 1995, nobody has been better early in their career at making electric plays than Agnew. He joins the likes of Tyreek Hill, Devin Hester, Eddie Drummond and Steve Smith as the only ones to accomplish this unique feat on a football field. Those players are known as some of the greats of the game in terms of making big plays in the return game.

Special teams is the way Agnew is making his mark in the league, and he’s doing quite a good job of it early in his career. The Lions have realized Agnew can be a weapon on the offensive side.

Jamal Agnew Lions Lone Pro Bowl Vote Getter

After Pro Bowl voting was opened up late last season, Agnew was the only Lions player to be at top 10 in voting for his position. Agnew is getting respect via votes for his work at returner, but sadly he was the only one who saw this type of love.

Here’s a look at what Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press wrote about where the Lions stood at the time in terms of voting:

“Just one Lions players ranks among the top 10 Pro Bowl vote-getters by position: Return man Jamal Agnew, who’s fifth among returners overall and fourth in the NFC.

Agnew was a Pro Bowl alternate as a rookie in 2017, when he returned two punts for touchdowns and earned All-Pro status, but he had a disappointing 2018 season, when he battled a knee injury for much of the season.

This year, Agnew has been up and down. He returned a kick for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles, but is averaging just 5.9 yards per punt return and is currently sidelined with an ankle injury.”

Agnew’s injury was likely something which prevented him from squaring away the honor last season, but he was one of the only players generating Pro Bowl love for Detroit in 2019. That was mildly shocking given the other players the Lions have on their roster that can do damage. Safe to say with another great year he could be in the mix again at multiple positions.

Jamal Agnew’s Stats With Lions

The Lions uncovered a potential hidden gem when they found Agnew in the fifth round of the draft in 2017. He quickly burst on the scene as an electric returner and in his career has managed to rack up 916 return yards in his career with three touchdowns. Two of those scores came in his rookie season, when he was named an All-Pro special teams player. In 2019, the Lions managed to get a 100 yard kickoff return for a score from Agnew to help in defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road.

Agnew’s stats as a cornerback are much more limited given he hasn’t played much there through the years. In his career in the NFL, he has only defended a pass and has 17 tackles to his credit. Obviously, the Lions prefer to save Agnew for the special teams given his electrifying moves.

It’s obvious that switching positions could be a good way for Agnew, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him do a bit of everything this year.

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