K: Brandon Aubrey, DAL
Season stats: 36-38 FG | 4-4 40-49 YDS | 10-10 50+ YDS | 49-52 PAT
Aubrey was a slam-dunk choice at kicker, as he was a perfect 35-for-35 on field goals until a couple of surprising misses in the season finale, and Dallas could rely on him from long range with unbelievable success from 50+ yards. The former professional soccer player is expected to be a force for years to come with a booming leg and pinpoint accuracy.
P: AJ Cole, LV
Season stats: 75 P | 3,783 YDS | 50.4 AVG | 43.7 NET | 34 IN20
Cole was an underrated factor in the Raiders staying competitive amid turmoil this season—with 45.3% of his kicks pinning opponents inside the 20 despite often dealing with unfavorable field position. The two-time All-Pro had a long punt of 83 yards, and Antonio Pierce trusted Cole for a team that got back to playing stout defense and relying on fundamentals.
KR: Keisean Nixon, GB
Season stats: 30 KR | 782 YDS | 26.1 AVG
Nixon might not have been quite as dangerous as he was in 2022 when he exploded onto the scene with Green Bay, but the 26-year-old was still a weapon returning kicks by consistently getting plus yardage for the Packers. In an era where kick returns have become less prevalent, Nixon is an old-school returner that spots a lane and hits it without hesitation.
PR: Derius Davis, LAC
Season stats: 24 PR | 385 YDS | 16.0 AVG | 1 TD
A rookie gets the nod here for the second year in a row (following up Marcus Jones), but another youngster in Marvin Mims Jr. had a strong case, as did Britain Covey. Overall, Davis was the best of the punt returners, though, providing a spark for Los Angeles during a gloomy season, including an 87-yard touchdown in the early moments of a win over the Jets when LA still appeared to be in contention.
ST: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, DET
Season stats: 20 TKL
Reeves-Maybin saw some action on defense, too, but after a year in Houston, he returned to lead the Detroit special teams and seemed to fully embrace the role during a memorable season for the franchise. Fakes were also a part of Reeves-Maybin’s game with 31-yard completion versus Dallas and a first-down run in the opening-night win over Kansas City that arguably set the tone for the season.