Wednesday, April 25, 2007
THE RAMMIES CONTINUE TINKERING
Wait and see with Hall
DANTE HALL: The response to the Rams trading for Hall has derive instant and passionate response.
Over the last three seasons: Hall ranks 15th in kickoff return average and 26th in punt return average in the NFL. Over the last two seasons, Hall ranks 21st in kickoff return average and 29th in punt return average.
Over the last two seasons. he has the same number of KO return touchdowns as Chris Johnson. Last season Willie Ponder averaged 23.3 per KO return. Hall averaged 22.8.
Hall was last a dominant punt return specialist in the first half of the 2004 season.
In fact, from 2002 through mid-season of the 2004 season. Hall averaged 14.5 yards per punt return with four touchdowns. Since that point, Hall has averaged 7.2 yards per punt return with one touchdown.
As a receiver, Hall has proven merely a supplemental factor during his career. In his last 49 games, Hall has exactly three catches for 25 yards or more. He has rushed the ball for an average of 4.6 yards per carry without a touchdown and just one run of 20 or more yards in his career.
So. those writing asking why trade for a player seemingly heading south all the while passing on a younger prospect like Ted Ginn, Jr. have legitimate concerns.
On the flip side. there is no denying that Hall is the best combo return specialist to don the Rams uniform since Az Hakim, and the most explosive return specialist since Tony Horne.
While Hall might not be the electrifying force he was back in 2002-2003, he is still a player that demands respect from the opposition.
As a receiver, despite the Chiefs attempting to integrate Hall into the passing game he never truly evolved.
However one can certainly make the case that Hall is the equal to Shaun McDonald in the receiver rotation.
From the standpoint of compensation. those determining a fifth-round pick is meaningless are uniformed.
Considering the following: The Rams have dealt two fifth-round picks this season for Dante Hall and James Hall.
The Rams dealt the 148th pick and the 154th pick in the draft in return for the Hall's.
Here is a list of some the most noted players selected in the fifth round prior to the 155th pick this decade: Jacob Bell; Rocky Bernard; Erick Coleman; Trent Cole; Kenyon Coleman; Andra Davis; Scott Fujita; Clark Haggans; Kyle Johnson; Dawan Landry; Chad Lavalais; Shane Lechler; Robert Mathis; Ryan O'Callaghan; Jake Scott; Kyle Williams; Gibril Wilson; Brian Young.
Furthermore. here are a few names selected this decade between the 148th and 154th slots:
Ironically, Dante Hall himself was the 153rd selection in the 2000 draft.
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was selected with the 149th pick; Michael Turner, the focus of trade talks this offseason was the 154th pick in 2004. Jordan Black considered among the best young offensive tackles in the NFL was picked with the 153rd selection in 2003.
Obviously, there were notables selected in the fifth round recently after the 154th pick including Mark Anderson who became a force with the Chicago Bears last season.
Keep this in mind. nearly 40 percent of the players selected in the fifth round last year started at least one game in 2006.
Please re-read that sentence allowing it to sink into the cranium.
Furthermore. five of the eight teams that played in the conference semi-finals last season had fifth-round draft picks in 2006 that started during the season (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, New England and Philadelphia).
Once again. 63 percent of the last eight teams standing last season had players selected in fifth round in 2006 register a start last season. Dawan Landry (14), Mark Anderson (1), Pat Watkins (9), Ryan O'Callaghan (6) and Omar Gaither (5) combined for 35 starts. Additionally, San Diego's fifth-round pick in '06, Tim Dobbins was a special teams demon that is projected as a possible starter in '07.
While this could prove yet another example of the Rams football operations staff adding a marquee name in an attempt to fill a hole instead of properly planning for a long-term solution (see Ted Ginn, Jr.). I'll wait and see what other moves are to be made this weekend.
I'll ride the fence analyzing this deal because throughout his career on the collegiate level and professional level. Linehan has converted diminutive receivers (many best known as returners) into productive receivers.
It would be ludicrous to dismiss Hall as a non-factor. However those banking on Hall being the ultimate special teams difference-maker might want to pump the breaks.
This is truly the most intriguing deal consummated by the Rams since bring Kyle Turley to town.
My gambling side has me rolling the dice with the Rams however the realist in me is removing a few chips from my wager.
This much is true. should Dante Hall actually don the Rams uniform, the first time that Carolina lines up to kickoff on September 9th. it will be the most anticipated kick return since New England booted the ball begin a contest back in February of 2002.