Thursday, April 7, 2011
Bears draft steals and busts: No. 2
By Jeff Dickerson
Continuing our ESPNChicago.com series featuring Bears steals and busts uncovered during the tenure of general manager Jerry Angelo, we bring you No. 2:
Steal: CB/WR/KR/PR Devin Hester, Miami, second round (57th overall in 2006) Say what you want about Hester’s average to slightly above average production at wide receiver, his excellence in the return game was a major reason the Bears reached the Super Bowl in 2006 and played in the NFC Championship Game four years later.
Hester, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, broke the NFL record for kick return touchdowns (14) against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 20 with a 64-yard punt return touchdown. He was the author of perhaps the single most exciting play in Chicago sports history when he returned the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI 92-yards for a touchdown versus the Indianapolis Colts.
Originally drafted as a cornerback and converted to wide receiver in 2007, Hester’s high water mark for catches (57) and receiving yards (757) came in 2009. Although those statistics dipped during his first season under offensive coordinator Mike Martz, Hester’s value in terms of field position is immeasurable.
Michael Haynes didn't fit in Lovie Smith's defensive system.
Bust: DE Michael Haynes, Penn State first round (14th overall in 2003) The 2002 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year dominated the Senior Bowl leading up to the 2003 NFL draft, but failed to make a significant impact in three seasons with the Bears (2003-05). Haynes, who played his rookie year under coach Dick Jauron, looked to be a bad fit in the Lovie Smith's defense, since Smith prefers lighter and quicker defensive ends. In 43 games with the Bears, Haynes registered only 5.5 career sacks, and once the organization acquired fellow defensive end Adewale Ogunleye prior to the 2004 season, the writing was on the wall.
After lasting one additional season, Haynes was cut in the summer of 2006. He bounced around the NFL for two more years with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets before calling it a career.