Head coach Lovie Smith told anyone who would listen last year that Devin Hester had what it took to be a No. 1 wide receiver on Sundays, but he's nowhere near what Larry Fitzgerald has done for the Super Bowl-bound Cardinals in the playoffs.
Hester led the Bears with 665 receiving yards this past season, but the fact remains that the tight end combo of Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen – along with rookie running back Matt Forte – carried a mediocre Chicago passing game. Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd were signed as bargain-basement free agents yet contributed very little, while all-effort guy Rashied Davis couldn't catch the ball consistently. Then there was third-round draft choice Earl Bennett, who came to the Windy City with amazing credentials in the SEC but didn't make a single reception.
The Midway Monsters would be wise to land at least one pass catcher through free agency in addition to a draft pick this April, and a pair of potential draftees were on display at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.
Turner (6-5, 221) has prototypical size and is regarded as a very good route runner considering how big he is, and he doesn't mind going over the middle to make the tough catch in traffic. But his speed is nothing more than decent, and he's known to drop some passes from time to time. Wallace (6-0, 180) was only third at Ole Miss this year with 39 catches, but he led the team with 784 yards through the air and averaged a stunning 18.9 yards on his 101 career receptions. However, he just may not be strong enough to handle the every-down pounding that professional wideouts are subjeted to, so his best role may be as a slot man and return specialist.
Wallace is listed as the No. 33 wide receiver available for the 2009 NFL Draft by the experts at Scout.com – Turner is No. 34. Both of them are projected to go sometime in the latter stages of Day 2.
Hester and Bennett are the only two wideouts assured of returning to the roster next season, making that position arguably the team's primary offensive need.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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