Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Breaking Down the Chicago Bears Fourth Round Pick: Northern Iowa Defensive Back - Deiondre' Hall

The NFL Draft has come and gone, and it appears that the Bears have a plan in place. Did I agree with that plan at every twist and turn? No, not really, but I also really enjoyed some of their moves so it all balances out. And they were active, and that definitely made for an exciting weekend. But what's done is done. The picks I like will obviously work out, and hopefully my genius fails me on the picks that I didn't like. So far, I have had the chance to break down:

First Round Pick: Leonard Floyd, Linebacker, Georgia
Second Round Pick: Cody Whitehair, Offensive Guard, Kansas State
Third Round Pick: Jonathan Bullard, Defensive Lineman, Florida
Fourth Round Pick: Nick Kwiatkoski, Linebacker, West Virginia
Fourth Round Pick: Deon Bush, Safety, Miami

And today we move to the Bears final fourth round pick, a guy near and dear to my heart hometown state, Deiondre' Hall, a defensive back from the University of Northern Iowa. The first thing that you may notice is that I'm using the vague term of defensive back instead of cornerback or safety, because it's still unclear where he might fit in. He's not only 6'2", but he is long. I mean, just look at that picture up top. He is Stretch Armstrong come to life (with a little bit of a tan as well). He fits the mold of the big corner, but he did dabble at safety last year as well, so his role is still up in the air. For a mid-round pick, Hall is actually a very good athlete. His 40 time at the combine was only 4.68, but he was able to run a 4.55 during his pro day, and I think had he done that at the combine, he may have gone a round earlier. Thanks to Draft Breakdown, I was able to check out his games against Portland State and North Dakota State. One of these is not actually a state. Unfortunately, it's impossible to know which one.

If you want a safety who is going to lay a punishing hit on anybody coming over the middle, well, Hall probably isn't your guy. He's a bit of a Deion Sanders tackler, as he seems to avoid the big contact and goes for the ankles of running backs. Sometimes it works better than others.
I will admit that he did seem more willing to lay a hit on people during the Portland State game, but there were still examples of him trying to make the tackle with as little contact as possible, and that's not a recipe for tackling success.

He had 13 interceptions in college, but it was tough to judge his coverage skills as Northern Iowa played a lot of soft zone coverages where Hall gave guys plenty of cushion. I can't say whether this was by design or he was super cautious, but I would assume it was more the former than the latter. What I did see was a guy who had a good backpedal and appeared to be fairly fluid in turning his hips when necessary. With that, I think he fits better as a safety than he would as a corner as he seems more used to playing in a zone than man coverage.

Overall, well, it's defensive back tape. There wasn't a whole lot there. He seems like a fairly fluid athlete, and since he played both corner and free safety in college, it wouldn't be too surprising if the Bears saw him in a similar role where he could fill in where they were weakest. I think he's a depth guy to start out, and hopefully he can develop into a starter down the road.

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