Today I want to consider the career trajectory of a more established player, Leon Hall. I was going to limit this series to younger players, and Hall is going into his 6th year in the league. But I kept coming back to Leon because of the diversity of opinion about him. Some consider him a terrific corner, while others think that he is nothing special. So let’s have some fun and a little discussion of a guy who plays one of the toughest positions on the field.
Unfortunately, not all of the stats are available for some of the older players. I chose to open up the comparison to all DBs, not just corners, to have the most recognizable names to compare.
|BENGALS DEFENSIVE BACKS|
#1: Ken Riley. Consider that Riley put up the numbers he did when the game was much more run-oriented than it is today. It is reasonable to wonder if he wouldn’t be one of the more highly-pursued free agent DBs if he were playing today rather than in the 70s. A 15-year career (1969-1983) is a fantastic run for a DB.
#2: Lemar Parrish. Riley and Parrish were the Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall of their day, frustrating the passing games of their opponents for all of Parrish’s 8 seasons with the Bengals. Some consider Parrish to be the better overall player of the pair because of his outstanding numbers as a returner. The fact that Paul Brown found him in the 7th round is absolutely amazing!
#3: David Fulcher. Fulcher is the gold standard for safeties in the Bengals franchise. He was a key piece of the ’89 SuperBowl team, but he was the enforcer in the middle of the field for seven seasons for the Bengals.
#4: Louis Breeden. Breeden took over at corner when Parrish left for the Redskins. Breeden was a component in the Bengals first run to the SuperBowl in 1981, intercepting the Hall of Fame QB Dan Fouts three times that season, including twice in the imfamous Freezer Bowl.
#5: Tommy Casanova. Casanova played safety in the 70s alongside Riley and Parrish. He was selected to the ProBowl four times in his six seasons in the NFL. Who knows how great his numbers might have been had he not left the game to pursue studies to become a medical doctor.
If you are truly daring, tell us what you expect from Dre Kirkpatrick too. It’s a tough call with never having seen him on the field, but I know that some of you are up to the challenge!