The NFL Network has been ranking the Top 100 players in the NFL, as voted by their peers. The Chicago Bears’ Devin Hester was ranked #32, ahead of other Bears standouts Lance Briggs at #92 and Brian Urlacher at #49.
Hester was humble as always in his ranking when calling in to the Reaction show on NFL Network after the 40-31 rankings were announced. Check the video and Warren Sapp’s ill-fitting white jacket here. Interesting nugget in that interview about Hester and fellow targets running with Jay Cutler three days a week, in case you were interested in how he’s keeping busy.
There is no denying Hester’s remarkable talent and his ability to change a game, but many pundits are denying his lofty status on this list. Here’s NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora:
Hester is a game-breaker and a truly unique player. Even still, he certainly was not among the game’s elite wide receivers last season, and, with him so heavily invested in the offense now, his prowess on special teams was muted.
He’s capable of amazing things with the ball in his hands, but if you’re letting me start a football team there are certainly more than just 31 players I would select before Hester.
It seems like Hester’s high ranking as a wide receiver is what created the stir. Is Devin Hester one of the top wide receivers in the league? No. Heck, he’s not even the best wide receiver on his team. But you can’t debate his status as the biggest game changer on this list. Hester has his supporters on the other side of the debate as well. Here’s Steve Wyche:
There’s no problem ranking a returner that high if that returner is Hester. He took three punt returns to the house last season and he averaged nearly 36 yards per kick return. He is a game-changer. Teams scheme for him, mostly how to avoid him. That is remarkable for a returner. I don’t see how there is any argument with him being ranked here — unless it is too low.
Check out the debate on NFL.com here.
I would argue that no other player has had the impact on the game as Hester has in his short stint in the league. They are even changing the kickoff rules because of him. Devin Hester is definitely a Top 100 player in this league and one of the most special players this league has ever seen.