It’s an offchute of the Bears’ need to search out a large receiver and to bolster the running back corps but they will not complain.
While trying to find receiver and running back help, the Bears now might need the deepest group of return men within the NFL.
Not less than they could lead on the league in something positive.
Drafting Velus Jones at wide receiver after which Trestan Ebner provided them with two of probably the most dynamic college football return men and so they already had a handful of doubtless effective players manning those spots. Because of this, special teams coordinator Richard Hightower goes to have the option to choose and select.
“So, it’s problem to have,” Hightower said.
Hightower and scouts watched video of Jones, who ran 4.31 seconds within the 40-yard dash, and saw a breakaway threat not only receiving the ball but returning it
“We checked out every return that he’s ever returned a football after which we also have a look at those where he fair-caught them,” Hightower said. “So, not one specifically. You only have a look at every different one and also you have a look at decision making and see what style of decisions he makes.
“Is he fearless? Does he catch the ball? Does he get vertical? Is he aggressive, and is he a man that you desire to add to your football team? And all of us felt that way, so we’re excited to have him. I believe he’s excited to be here and that shows through his preparation in meetings and that showed on the sector as well.”
Here’s what they now have as potential return men. It’s almost enought to make them forget they’d Jakeem Grant last yr and each Tarik Cohen and Cordarrelle Patterson for 2 years before that as high-level return men.
WR Velus Jones
Returned 122 kicks for Tennessee and USC for two,973 yards, a 24.4-yard average, and two touchdowns. He also returned some punts, not an amazing amount, but was extremely effective with a 15.1-yard average for 18 returns. It’s possible he’ll do each for the Bears. As Hightower said: “I envision anybody that has a helmet on that is a returner doing each. So if anyone has a helmet on, we’re going to coach them at each after which we’ll see what they’ll do best and we’ll put the perfect guy on the market that helps the Bears achieve success.”
RB Trestan Ebner
Averaged 25.3 yards for 47 kick returns with three touchdowns at Baylor, annd also returned 28 punts for a 6.8-yard average and one TD.
“He’s really quick-twitch,” Hightower said. “He covers the ball up well. He protects the ball well, which is nice for a young player. When he’s running with it, he protects it well. You may see that even within the offensive drills after I’m watching on the side sometimes. But so he’s got speed and explosiveness and he’s eager.”
RB Khalil Herbert
Besides running for 433 yards last yr, Herbert returned 27 kicks for the Bears and averaged 24.1 yards. In college, he had averaged 26.9 yards for 18 kick returns. As backup running back now, the team might need to reduce o his returns, although that is yet to be seen.
WR Byron Pringle
For Kansas City within the last three seasons, he returned 37 kicks and averaged an impressive 26.6 yards with one TD. Last season for the Chiefs he had 25 of the 37 returns for a 24.8-yard average. Like with Herbert, Pringle performs a significant role on offense because the No. 2 receiver, no less than until Jones learns the NFL game well enough to ascend the rookie ladder. So he won’t get the possibility on kick returns.
RB Darynnton Evans
Returned 56 kicks for a 25.7-yard average with three touchdowns at Appalachian State, then went to the Titans in Round 3 of the 2020 draft and suffered through two injury marred seasons. He missed all of his 2017 college season with an injury to the muscle behind the knee joint, then recovered and within the NFL missed the primary two games of 2020 wth a hamstring injury. He went on injured reserve for eight games when he aggravated that injury. In 2021 he suffered a knee sprain in preseason and missed six games, then injured it again in Week 7 and went on season-ending injured reserve.
RB De’Montre Tuggle
An undrafted free agent for Ohio University who excelled as a back but additionally returned 28 kicks for a 24.1-yard average with two touchdowns.
WR Dazz Newsome
Returned six punts at season’s end for a 12.5-yard average after coming off the practice squad as a rookie. The previous yr at North Carolina he finished up a profession during which he averaged 11.1 yards per 48 punt returns, including one TD. In 2018 he had averaged 15.1 yards with that TD.
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WR Dante Pettis
Set an NCAA record with nine punt return TDs while at Washington, then wasn’t used as much on returns and wasn’t effective when he was with the 49ers and Giants. He has returned 41 NFL punts for a 3.2-yard average.
WR David Moore
A punt returner at times besides catching passes for the Seahawks, Moore returned 22 in Seattle after which three in Green Bay last yr. He has averaged 8.8 yards a return.
WR Nsimba Webster
He spent most of last yr on the practice squad with the Bears but did get to return 4 punts for under a 3.3-yard average. He spent two seasons with the Rams before that and has averaged 6.0 yards on 36 NFL punt returns. He also returned 18 kicks for the Rams for a 22.4-yard average.
WR Chris Finke
Former Notre Dame standout who signed as a street free agent with the Bears, he returned 73 punts for the Fighting Irish for an 8.2-yard average.