KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Chiefs special-teams coordinator Dave Toub isn’t given to hype, so when he talks about a player and his ability in a given area, it’s wise to listen. The Chiefs listened to Toub during a pre-draft meeting when he said Tyreek Hill could be as productive a kickoff and punt returner as Devin Hester.
The Chiefs eventually drafted Hill in the fifth round.
Any comparison to Hester is quite a statement. Hester has to be at or near the top of anyone’s list of all-time great return specialists, and he has 20 career touchdowns, counting the playoffs, in his 10-year NFL career.
But Toub isn’t merely throwing out a name in offering a comparison to Hill. Toub coached Hester for seven years with the Chicago Bears.
“When you evaluate players, you always compare them to other people,’’ Toub said. “[Hill is] a dynamic returner. You can see it clearly on tape, his speed. I probably said a couple of [times] that he’s Devin Hester-ish. To compare him directly to Devin Hester, that’s not fair to the kid. It’s not fair to Devin. It was a conversation we had in the draft room.’’
Hill has proved to the Chiefs repeatedly on the practice field that he’s fast. He was timed at 4.25 seconds in 40 yards at his pro day in preparing for the draft, and that seems legitimate based on the way he’s run when he’s gotten into the open field at practice.
The Chiefs still are sorting through candidates, but it will be an upset if Hill isn’t at least returning punts and perhaps even bringing back kickoffs when they begin the regular season on Sept. 11 against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.
“He’s a really good catcher,’’ Toub said. “He makes people miss. He’s got great agility, great quickness, great first-step quickness. His top speed is second to none. Four-two-five? That speed is real. That’s one thing we’ve learned over the last month is that he’s got legitimate speed.’’