Much like why punters are important to fore the opposition to have bad field position, the kick returners are important to ensure their team had good field position. Because some kickoff returners also return punts, both will be under this category.
Kickoff returners for the Chiefs were Mecole Hardman and De’Anthony Thomas. Hardman averaged 26.1 yards per return and returned one for a touchdown, while Thomas averaged 22.1 yards per return. Combined they averaged 25.3 yards per return.
For Dallas, they have Tony Pollard and Cedrick Wilson returning, with rookie Trevon Diggs being an option that can return as well. In 2019, Pollard averaged 17.5 yards per return and Wilson averaged 21.3 yards per return. Combined they average 18.2 yards.
Diggs was a good returner in college, averaging 23.8 yards per return in his four-year stint. The 2019 season saw him average 19.5 yards per return.
Returning punts for the Chiefs are Hardman and Thomas again. In 2019, Hardman averaged 9.3 yards per return while Thomas averaged 4.2 yards per return. Combined, the duo averaged 7.2 yards per return.
The Cowboys enter 2020 needing a new option to return punts. Some options they have are Pollard, Wilson, Diggs, and 2020 first-round pick CeeDee Lamb.
Wilson is the only returning name that returned punts for the Cowboys in 2019. Of the two punts he was set to return, one was a fair catch, and the other was returned for 13 yards.
Pollard returned kickoffs during the 2019 season, but he did not return any punts. He did return two for 11 yards in college. It’s a very small sample and not much from it, but his success as a kick returner in college may translate over to punts with some coaching.
Trevon Diggs did a good job returning punts at Alabama. He only returned punts for the first two of his four seasons there but did it well. From 31 returns, he averaged 9.2 yards.
Lamb is the most likely option to return punts for the Cowboys considering how good he did it in college. In 2018 he averaged 12.8 yards per return and averaged 8.8 yards per return in his three seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners.
The Chiefs and the Cowboys are pretty even as far as the punt return. Although there is no clear-cut number one guy for Dallas, they have very good options to pick from.
The kick return is what separates the two teams. Pollard did not perform all that well as a returner, dropping a couple of kicks which put the Cowboys in tough situations. The Chiefs had excelled at kick returning, consistently getting good field position, making it easier for the offense.