Recruit Ranking: A three-star recruit at defensive back.
2013 Statistics: 49 tackles (6.5 for losses), three interceptions, 18 passes defended, 15 passes broken up, one fumble recovery.
• 2013 Second Team All-SEC (Coaches & AP) • 2013 All-SEC (Athlons & Phil Steele) • 2013 Thorpe Award Watch List • 2013 Bednarik Award Watch List • 2013 Nagurski Award Watch List • 2013 CFPA Kickoff Returner Trophy Watch List • 2012 Second Team All-SEC (AP) • 2012 SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Nov. 19)
Strengths: Hal kept up a tradition of top notch cornerback play at Vanderbilt that has stretched from D.J. Moore to Myron Lewis to Casey Hayward and now, hopefully, Darrius Sims and Paris Head. Hal has been a starter for the Commodores since late in his true freshman season, and he has been a major stabilizing presence for the Vandy defense. The explosive corner is fast enough to cover wideouts deep downfield but has quick enough lateral movement to jump on out routes and hitches as well.
"Dre" earned his supper as a blanketing presence against the SEC's best wide receivers. Hal was an extremely consistent cover-corner who used his fluid motion and explosive acceleration to keep from getting beat downfield. His play as a senior helped limit opponents to just two 100-yard receiving games from individual wideouts (Bruce Ellington, Markeith Ambles) in 2013. He has a nose for the ball once it is in the air, and that leads to a high number of pass break-ups along whichever sideline he's patrolling.
Hal is also explosive with the ball in his hands. He's averaged 25.8 yards per interception return over the past two seasons and returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in 2011 against Georgia. His speed and awareness don't just set him up to create turnovers - they also give him the capability to swing field possession in his team's favor in a big way.
The corner is a solid tackler who can bring down runners despite often ceding a size advantage. Hal makes lots of stops around opponents' legs, and he's effective as a blitzing presence from the secondary.
Weaknesses: Hal tended to give his receivers plenty of cushion, relying on his closing speed to make plays along the sideline while preventing the deep ball. That was an effective bait-and-switch strategy in college, but it may not translate as well against the more accurate passers of the NFL. Additionally, it may scare some teams away who are looking for a more physical, bump-and-run cornerback. Hal doesn't stick to his guys like glue - instead he takes more of a bungee cord approach to coverage, snapping back explosively to break up passes.
With the league turning towards bigger cornerbacks, a guy like Hal may have to prove himself all over again. The senior isn't exceptionally big or strong, and his measurements at the NFL Combine failed to showcase his fluid movement or defensive awareness on the field. He may have trouble shedding blocks along the sideline when paired up against bigger receivers.
Projection: Fourth to sixth round. SBNation had Hal going as high as the second round earlier this year, but other projections have cooled on him recently. The Louisiana native has the chops to play in the NFL, but he'll have to tighten up his coverage skills to break into a starting lineup. Hal's ability to recover back to the ball and make plays is what made him an All-SEC performer. He'll have to prove that he can do that against the NFL's best receivers to earn a shot at the next leve.