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CB Leon Hall adds more depth to Giants secondary

Posted Aug 4, 2016

The Giants have announced the signing of CB Leon Hall:  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Adhering to the theory that you can never have too many good cornerbacks, the Giants today signed 10-year veteran Leon Hall.

Hall, 5-11 and 195 pounds, played his first nine seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals, who selected him in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

The University of Michigan product joins a group of cornerbacks that includes veterans Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins (who joined the team as a free agent in March), Eli Apple (the team’s first-round draft choice this year), plus Trevin Wade, Leon McFadden, and three rookie free agents.

“Leon is one of the versatile veteran corners that we had targeted during the free agency period,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “He was very impressive at the workout Wednesday, he brings tons of experience, and also brings veteran leadership to our defense.”

“We’re fortunate to add Leon to the roster,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “He’s a pro’s pro, has played a lot of football, and has a nice skill set for us.”

Hall is a versatile player who has played on the corner (predominantly on the right side), in the slot, and at safety.

“We see him playing a lot of inside football for us, serving as a nickel,” McAdoo said. “But never say never when a guy has a chance to move around.”

“I’m comfortable there,” Hall said of playing in the slot. “We’ve talked and I’m comfortable in multiple spots, which I think is a good thing, especially for this team, just to be able to be flexible. I pride myself on being able to play in the slot, and if they need me on the outside and elsewhere, I pride myself on being ready for that, too.”

After nine seasons wearing the same uniform, Hall must learn a new defense, become accustomed to new teammates, new coaches, and a find his way around a different region of the country.

“I’m a little nervous, naturally, but definitely anxious and excited,” he said. “I’ve been working out, but it’s different when you’re not with a team and training camp. Everybody started last week, so I’ve been watching on TV. Sitting around watching is not fun, so I’m excited to actually put some cleats on again.

“It’s a little bittersweet, but it’s exciting. Everything is going to be a little different, but sometimes different is good. I’m excited for the opportunity.”

To create room on the roster, the Giants waived cornerback Tramain Jacobs, who played five games for the Giants last season and had three special teams tackles.

Hall has played in 121 regular-season games with 105 starts. His career totals include 517 tackles (380 solo), 26 interceptions (including two he returned for touchdowns), 129 passes defensed, five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.  Hall also had 28 special teams tackles, and he returned three kickoffs and three punts.

Hall started all four postseason games in which he played and had 24 tackles (11 solo) and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He is one of just two Bengals in history to score a defensive touchdown in a postseason game.

In the last two seasons, Hall has played 31 games (29 regular season), after recovering from a second Achilles tendon tear. He tore his left Achilles tendon in 2011 and the right one two years later.

Hall played in 14 regular-season games with four starts in 2015. He started one game at right corner, two at nickel back, and one at strong safety. Hall totaled 55 tackles (44 solo), two interceptions and nine passes defensed. He had a season-high seven tackles (five solo) vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 13, and twice had six tackles in a game. Hall also started and had two solo tackles and broke up a pass in the Bengals’ AFC Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh.

Hall was the 18th overall selection in the 2007 draft. In his first four seasons, he played in all 16 regular-season games – starting every game from 2008-10) -- and one postseason game. He started all 43 games in which he played from 2011-14 before moving into more of a reserve role last season.

A native of Vista, Calif, Hall played for Michigan from 2003-06, and was a consensus All-American as a senior.

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
By Dan Salomone

1. Originally a first-round pick (No. 18 overall) by Cincinnati in the 2007 NFL Draft, cornerback Leon Hall played all nine of his previous seasons with the Bengals, starting 109 times in 125 games played, including the postseason.

2. With two interceptions last season, Hall moved into fourth place on the Bengals’ all-time list with 26. Other career numbers include 470 tackles, three interceptions returned for touchdowns, 112 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

>> WATCH: HIGHLIGHTS FOM PRACTICE

3. His 112 passes defensed are No. 5 in the NFL since coming into the league in 2007. Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is No. 4 with 122 (Rodgers-Cromartie was drafted in 2008).

4. In 2012, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound cornerback was named the Bengals’ team recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, sponsored by league athletic trainers. Hall suffered season-ending Achilles tears in 2011 and 2013.

5. Hall played four seasons (2003-06) at Michigan, where he was a consensus All-American in 2006. He left with the school record for career passes defensed (43) and ranked tied for fourth in interceptions (12). A California native, he played cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback at Vista High School, earning All-America honors and also lettering in track.