Tyler Lockett was named a pro bowl alternate this season. Some would say he deserves it, others would say its on reputation only, still more would explain "well someone has to make it".
What do the numbers say? Did Lockett do the team more good or more damage by taking the ball out of the end zone on kicks?
I took a look at every return Lockett had this season and found a couple interesting notes. First of all look how many touchbacks (TB) that Lockett had at the beginning of the season as opposed to the end of the season. Teams were afraid of him early on and then lost that fear in November and December. 23 of his 29 touchbacks came in the first 10 games. In the final 6 games, he averaged just a touchback per game.
Secondly, I noticed what I suspected to be true. Lockett cost his team yards by taking the ball out of the end zone.
In the 12 total times Lockett took the ball from at least 1 yard deep in the end zone he made it to the 25 only 3 times costing the team a total of 54 yards versus what he would have had putting his knee down. In those 3 returns, he gained 27 yards more yards for the team for a net total loss of 27 yards for the season.
What you may conclude by that is that a loss of only 27 yards is well worth him taking the shot at breaking a big one, but, as Hugh pointed out, you have 0 chance at a Lockett injury and 0 chance of a penalty if he just keeps his butt in the end zone.
Here are the kickoff returns on the season in chronological order. The first number is the yard line he got to on the return, the number in parenthesis is at what yard line he caught the ball (-4 means 4 yards deep in the end zone) TB indicates a touchback.
39(-4), 26(1), 26(3), TB, TB, TB, 22(-5), 18(-1), TB, TB, TB, TB, TB, TB, TB, TB, TB, TB, TB, 19(-4), 18(-4), 16(5), TB, TB, TB, 22(1), TB, TB, TB, TB, 18(-3), TB, TB, 22(2), 20(0), Opp40(3), 35(-2), 39(2), 28(3), TB, TB, 29(3), 19 (-3), TB, 27(2), 25(6), 25(0), TB, 25(7), 21(-2), 16(1), TB, 20(7), 25(7), 20(-2), 17(-1), 32(2), TB, TB, TB, TD(1), TB, 20(0), 28(-1), 25(17), TB