In the second round of the 2003 draft the Bears took a flyer on a tall cornerback out of a smaller school. Now they have gone a similar route, hoping to land another Charles Tillman.
At the very least they secured a tall cornerback from a smaller school who WANTS to be another Charles Tillman.
Deiondre’ Hall, 6-2, 190 pounds, became a Bear with the team’s third pick in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. Hall comes out of Northern Iowa with 13 career interceptions, six returned for touchdowns, with another 28 passes broken up.
In the Tillman tradition he also finished with four forced fumbles, three of those his senior season.
His role model, “for cornerback, me personally, I’ve always loved him, is Charles Tillman,” Hall said. “Just being a ballhawk and getting that ball. That’s something that’s been huge to me throughout my time at Northern Iowa… .
“I’ve always kind of tried to model my game after him. Like I said, just being a ballhawk and getting that ball out. That’s one of the key emphasis throughout my time at Northern Iowa. Not basically mimicking his game but taking bits and pieces and adding it to mine.”
The turnover bits and pieces of his game will be welcome additions for a team that totaled just 17 total turnovers last season and whose cornerbacks (Kyle Fuller, Tracy Porter) combined for just three interceptions.
But Hall has started at linebacker, is a physical defensive back, and is likely to get at least a look at safety as well. There his football template changes.
“For safety positions, I’ve always kind of saw myself as a ‘Honey Badger,’” Hall said, referencing Arizona Cardinals All-Pro defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. “Being able to play a little corner, coming down in the slot and guarding those quicker guys and being able to stay up top and cover ground. That’s huge in the game these days.”