Height: 5'10" Weight: 198 lbs
College: Virginia Tech
Drafted: First round, eighth overall by the Atlanta Falcons (2004)
At times, DeAngelo Hall has been among the top cornerbacks in the league; at times, he's been burned for touchdown after touchdown. Based on pure talent alone, he might very well still be the best cornerback on the Redskins roster. But when age, durability, size, attitude and decision-making are factored in, he's no longer guaranteed a roster spot. Still, he offers plenty to a young secondary that brings myriad question marks into the season, and the Redskins would be wise to keep Hall in Washington for at least another year.
#1. Hall came to the Redskins midway through the 2008 season and played in 84 of the next 87 games, recording 23 interceptions and 76 pass breakups. He then proceeded to play in just three games in 2014, neither picked off nor broke up a pass, and tore his Achilles (twice).
He has had some amazing games, such as picking off Jay Cutler four times in the second half of a 2010 game.
But because he is always looking to make a play on the ball, he often gets caught on double moves that lead to big plays for opposing receivers. This problem is compounded by the lack of reliable safeties behind him, a reality Hall has endured since joining the Redskins. He also doesn't pull any punches, often literally, and has been in more arguments, spats, controversies and fights than are worth counting.
#2. Before starring as a cornerback and returner (and occasional receiver and running back) at Virginia Tech, the Chesapeake, Va., native dominated at Deep Creek High School, where he was teammates with Darryl Tapp, who he would later team up with at Virginia Tech and with the Redskins. Hall then went on to put on a clinic at VT, picking off eight passes through his 38-game career and returning them for an average of 20.1 yards. He excelled as a punt returner in 2002, when he led the Big East in both touchdowns and yards per return, and he was second in total punt return yards.
He was just as impressive in 2003, when he led the conference in numerous punt return categories, including total returns, yardage and touchdowns. That year, Hall was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, an honor he shared with the great Sean Taylor.
#3. Hall has been fined more than $100,000 since entering the NFL. Most impressively, he racked up $65,750 in fines over the span of 26 days in 2012 — $30,000 for lambasting an official in an Oct. 28 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and $35,750 for a pair of incidents in the Redskins' Thanksgiving Day win against the Dallas Cowboys — but that is hardly the extent of his violations.
- In 2005, Hall was fined $5,000 for his role in a pregame brawl between the Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles.
- After Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for his dogfighting ring, Hall and a handful of his Falcons teammates were chastised for "displaying an unauthorized personal message." Hall was given a $10,000 fine for that incident.
- In 2013, his wallet became $20,000 lighter for a horse-collar tackle on future teammate DeSean Jackson.
- Hall was also fined $7,875 for "striking" Will Beatty of the New York Giants (though "striking" might not have been the best word) at the end of 2013.
By my count, that's $108,625 in fines over the course of seven incidents.
#4. Nobody will ever compare DeAngelo Hall to Darrell Green, who was not only the best DB in Redskins history but perhaps the greatest defensive player the team has ever had. But where does Hall rank among Redskins DBs throughout history? He's only played six full seasons in Washington, including his three-game 2014, but his 23 interceptions while wearing the Burgundy and Gold are 10th in team history, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
He's also one of just six Skins with three or more pick-sixes, and he's sixth in interception return yardage. His 333 tackles are 12th all-time, but tackles have been inconsistently recorded throughout NFL history and Hall is sandwiched between Reed Doughty and Rocky McIntosh on that list, so what is that worth?
He recorded 20 of his 43 career interceptions with the Falcons and Oakland Raiders, and while it feels like he's been around forever, Hall is still just 31 years old. The team's own 80 Greatest Redskins list only includes three cornerbacks and three safeties, so it's not as if Washington is known for churning out elite defensive backs. For better or worse, the numbers would argue that Hall would be among the top few DBs in Redskins history if he had played his whole career in Washington.
#5. Hall gets a bad rap because of his many on-field incidents, and perhaps rightfully so, but it's also worth taking into account how much he's sacrificed to stay with the Redskins. Sure, he agreed to restructure his contract this year to make his entire $4 million salary non-guaranteed, but it wasn't the first time he took less money to stay in Washington. And while Skins fans don't want to see young corners like David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland and Tevin Mitchel picking up any of Hall's negative traits, the fiery veteran has learned from his own mistakes throughout his career, and that's a valuable lesson they can learn.
For example, take this account of when Hall spotted Amerson slacking off during former Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett's drills, in Hall's own words, via Mike Jones of The Washington Post:
"I stood up and told Haz, 'I can't even really be mad at him, because I was doing the same thing.' So, the next day, I tried to go out there, set the tempo and set the tone, and the guys followed. So, you just have to lead by example and try to do things the right way every single play."
Bottom Line: Hall has earned a spot on the roster this year thanks to his on-field contributions over the years, as well as through his development as a leader off the field. The secondary should be improved over what has been put on the field in recent years, but Amerson, Breeland, Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson all bring more questions than answers right now, and Washington would benefit from having a guy around who knows the organization. If healthy, Hall not only deserves to make the team on his own merits, but the Redskins also don't have a whole lot of better choices.