The Chicago Bears had three picks in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and they went defense with all of them. After taking inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, they went with safety Deon Bush, then capped the round with Deiondre' Hall of Northern Iowa. Hall moved between corner and safety during the 2015 season, and his head coach, Mark Farley, said that 'Hall could play any position on defense because of his good attitude, football intelligence, and tenacious nature.'
Hall is 6'2", 199 pounds with 34 3/8' long arms. His wingspan helps him not only in coverage, but also in tackling. Last year he had 82 tackles, three forced fumbles and six interceptions. His 4 career interception returns for a touchdown is a school record.
He may not have the straight line speed to stay at corner, and he may be too thin for a full time safety role, but Hall has proven to be a good football player by being named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will figure out how to best utilize his length and ball skills.
Here's the full transcript from Hall's teleconference that took place on Saturday afternoon
On the reaction when receiving the call;
"Thank you. Emotions are running very high. You know I've been waiting all my life for this I got the call and the reaction here at home is crazy. Family (is) all running around and I'm just thankful for the opportunity."
On who called him from the Bears;
"No, I don't even know who called. I just saw the Illinois number and basically flipped out."
On previous contact with the Bears during the pre-draft process;
"Not too much, honestly. I had a formal meeting with the Bears during the combine and just chopped up some film and went over everything. Otherwise there wasn't too much."
On where he anticipates the Bears playing him on defense;
"For me, I just want the opportunity to get the chance to step on to the field, so it can be either or; whatever coach needs me to play. I think that's one thing that helps me out the most is my versatility and being in those two different positions. Special teams will also help me a lot as well."
On having long arms and the advantages of that;
"For me, my length at the corner position, it definitely helps me at the point of attack just staying pace at the line and getting hands on the receiver in the first five yards. Down the field, even at the safety position, high pointing those balls even if it's in a difficult spot or maybe if I'm a step out of place, the arms are so long, it allows me to make plays."
On whom he emulates his game after at each position;
"For cornerback for me personally and I've always loved him but Charles Tillman. You know just being a ball hawk and getting that ball, that's something that has been huge for me especially during my time at Northern Iowa. For safety position, I've always seen myself as a Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu). Being able to play a little corner, coming down in the slot guarding those quicker guys and then being able to stay up top and cover ground is huge in the game these days."
On the value of the his Senior Bowl experience;
"Things that opened up my eyes up the most that week was just going up against different competition. You know, that has been one of the biggest speculations throughout the process for me was the level of competition. Just getting up against guys who were the best of the best and that's what I'm getting myself into now is going up against the best of the best every day. Just executing."
On what he proved during his Senior Bowl experience;
"I think I definitely proved that I can play the cornerback position and I can play a little nickel position as well and that my competiveness definitely shows through. Started out at the Senior Bowl day one a little rough and then day two I got into my own game into day three I got my full swag. That's huge for me."
On the point in his career where he started emulating Charles Tillman;
"I've always tried to mark my game after him. Like I said just being a ball hawker and getting that ball out. That was one of the key [points of] emphasis throughout my time at Northern Iowa and (with) my DB coach Brandon Lynch. So just not mimicking his game, but taking bits and pieces and adding that to mine."
On his greatest strengths as a player;
"My competitiveness and my willingness to keep working. I think those are two huge things for me especially going to the next level. And my length, that's another huge thing. As much as it is said almost every other day that the length is so important, I think it really does hold a lot of weight."
What are your thoughts on what Hall had to say?