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New kickoff rule could dramatically alter draft boards

Now that the NFL's teams know that a revolutionary new kickoff rule is coming, they can commence planning for it.

And, coincidentally, the annual effort to collect new incoming talent starts in 29 days.

Draft boards surely will be reconfigured, given the sudden resurrection of what had become a dead play. And it won't just be players with proven skill in the return game. Teams will need players who will thrive in the cramped, broken-field space created by the new configuration.

Beyond the draft, the new kickoff will impact roster decisions on game day. Teams might use more linebackers and safeties, who will become potentially key pieces of the 10-man alignment that will be charged with shooting through the gaps and getting to the return specialist.

It's a new skill set. Projections will have to be made as to who will be best suited to block and tackle in this unprecedented arrangement of players.

The change will be dramatic. The teams that do the best both as to maximizing their own returns and minimizing their opponents' returns will have a huge advantage in 2024 — and perhaps beyond, if the one-year experiment becomes permanent.