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DeAngelo Hall On Being Tied To Guys In Your Draft Class

Posted by Matt Terl on April 29, 2010 – 1:43 pm

When the Redskins selected Trent Williams with their first-round draft pick last week, it meant that they were passing on Russell Okung, the other top-rated offensive tackle. This will no doubt prompt a multi-year analysis of if the Redskins got the right guy, and that’s something that makes DeAngelo Hall shake his head.

“I don’t necessarily think there’s a ‘got it right,'” Hall said. “Like they say, all it takes is one team to fall in love with you. That team falls in love with you, they’re in a position to get you before the next team that’s in love with the other guy, and that’s what gonna happen.”

Hall knows a little something about this situation.
The 2004 draft was rich in defensive backs, and the two most highly-rated were Virginia Tech’s DeAngelo Hall and South Carolina’s Dunta Robinson. Here’s an excerpt from an article by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle written just before that draft:

Robinson is 5-10 3/4, and Hall is 5-10. They are ranked at the top of their class because they have the speed, quickness and athleticism to become shutdown corners at the next level.

At the Indianapolis scouting combine, Robinson impressed scouts by doing every drill, including running the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds. At Virginia Tech’s pro day, Hall ran a 4.35.

Some scouts believe Robinson will be ready to play sooner in the NFL because he used all of his college eligibility. Others say that experience is negated because he started at cornerback only two years after making the move from safety.

Some scouts predict Hall will be the first cornerback drafted because he also is a marvelous punt returner.

The article is in the Houston paper because the Texans were viewed as very likely to use their top pick on a corner; it shook out that the Falcons took Hall as the first cornerback in the draft with the eighth overall pick (pictured above!), and the Texans took Robinson with the tenth. (This actually came as something of a surprise to Hall: “From the jump, I never thought I was gonna go to Atlanta [at] 8,” he said. “I thought I was gonna either be at Cleveland 7 or Jacksonville 9.”)

But the result is that Hall and Robinson have been linked for almost their entire pro careers, something that Hall freely admits has driven him.

“Just the opportunity to be the top man [drafted] at my position,” Hall said, “you know, you obviously got something to prove.
My rookie season, I was hurt a little bit, had two picks. Our team did well and played in the NFC Championship Game, but watching Dunte get six interceptions and lead his team — it kinda had ME thinking maybe they got it wrong.

He shrugged. “But that’s motivation. Next year, I came out, got six, went to a Pro Bowl. I’ve been kinda following his career, I think he’s been doing the same with mine, just ’cause, you know, you’re linked like that. “

Now, Hall believes, Williams can look forward to being linked to Okung in the same fashion. “I bet Trent Williams and Okung will follow each other for the rest of their careers,” Hall said. “Okung’s gonna have motivation ’cause Trent went before him, Trent’s gonna always know where the guy behind him is at. And that’s just how it is in this league.”

Which brings things all the way back around to the question: did the Redskins get the pick right by selecting Williams over Okung? “I didn’t really know him or Okung, to know who was better, who was the best fit or what-not,” Hall said, “but I think coming to this draft, everybody on the team player-wise felt like we needed some offensive line help.” (Well, that’s certainly true.)

“I felt like, top-5 pick, we needed to go tackle,” Hall finished, “and to see them execute that was huge.” So from that perspective, Hall’s pretty firmly convinced the team got this one right.

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