Weapon in Question

There are several personnel people around the league who believe it's a mistake by the Bears not to play second-round pick Devin Hester on offense.

At Miami, Hester was magic with the ball in his hands. In three seasons, Hester returned four punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. He also scored on a blocked punt and rushing.

He'll have an opportunity to continue those roles with the Bears, but in addition to special teams, they drafted him to play cornerback. He did that at "The U," and he looked like a natural doing it during the Bears' three-day rookie mini-camp at Halas Hall.

But he also played wide receiver and running back in addition to cornerback. And considering he ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at Miami's pro day, a lot of teams might be tempted to get him as many touches as possible.

The Bears and Hester believe his future is on defense, though, even if it takes a while to realize his potential.

"He's a guy who is raw at the position," Bears defensive backs coach Steven Wilks said, "but he has outstanding speed and great upside. He has all the tools you would want in a corner, they're just not developed yet. We're going to put him in one spot and let him grow. He's a guy who loves to work. He's going to give everything he has."

Hester said he has no position preference.

"I'm a football player," he said. "I really don't have a favorite position. Anywhere the coaches put me, wherever they need me, that's what I'm willing to do. I'm a team ballplayer and I'm just trying to come out and contribute and try to win a Super Bowl."

Hester is confident that putting his vast talents into the hands of Bears coaches will result in him becoming a quality NFL cornerback.

"We have great DB coaches," he said. "Just working with them, I feel I'm going to be one of the most dominant corners in the league in a couple years."

For the time being, the Bears will take an immediate upgrade in the return game. Catching the ball on punts proved to be an adventure for much of last season with Bobby Wade handling the duties.

Hester averaged 25.5 yards per kickoff return and 15.6 yards on punts.

"Devin Hester is a guy that as soon as he gets the ball in his hands I mean he's going to be exciting," said special teams coach Dave Toub. "I think everybody is looking forward to having him, just seeing what he can do. Watching him on tape is just unbelievable, I mean he can take it the distance at any time."


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