Daeshon Hall may be gone, but the Philadelphia Eagles won’t forget him anytime soon.
If there was one position the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t have to worry about in 2019, it was defensive end.
Despite losing a now-retired Michael Bennett via a March trade to the New England Patriots, and, ironically enough, ex-New Englands Patriot Chris Long to retirement, the Eagles’ rotation was borderline set right from the jump, with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett slotted in as starters, Josh Sweat coming off the bench as the third man up, and Vinny Curry bringing up the rear as an inside-out combo rusher. Heck, the team even used the final pick in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Penn State base end – and Miles Sanders’ college teammate – Shareef Miller as a developmental fifth option.
Sure, there were some intriguing options on the peripherals, like Central Michigan de/olb Joe Ostman, at least until he suffered a season-ending ACL injury during the team’s open practice at The Linc, but for the most part, those five players were going to make or break Jim Schwartz‘s pass rush for better or worse.
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But apparently, no one told that to Daeshon Hall, as he seemingly wasn’t going to ride off into the sunset without a fight.
A 2017 third-round pick out of Texas A&M, Hall initially joined the Philadelphia Eagles via the Houston Texans practice squad, marking his fourth NFL team in less than two years. He appeared in five games – three in the regular season and two in the playoffs – logged two tackles and half a sack in 23 defensive snaps, and was retained going into the 2019 season as a low-risk, low-reward camp body.
At least that was the idea.
Despite starting out the summer low on the team’s depth chart, Hall rapidly rose up the ranks, earned a handful of first-team reps in practice, and eventually settled into a role on the second unit across from Sweat during the preseason; a preseason that effectively changed his fortunes for the better.
Through four preseason games, Hall recorded three strip-sacks, four total sacks, four tackles for loss, and an insane nine quarterback hits. His 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame looked smooth bending around the corner of a would-be blocker, and his relentless motor scored him legions of new fans in the 215. Had he not made the team’s opening day roster, surely fans would have marched on Lincoln Financial field, assuming, of course, he wasn’t stashed away on the practice squad.
Though, let’s be honest, that wasn’t going to happen, not with plays like the one below.
Surely some team would have watched Hall’s preseason performance, saw the obvious potential in the then 24-year-old’s game, and signed him up to a long-term deal. And finally, finally, that team was the Philadelphia Eagles. They did it. They found an underused player, gave him a shot, and he developed into a legit contributor. That happens every. single. year. to other teams across the NFL and yet, it seemingly never does for the Eagles. After watching preseason stars like DeAndre Carter, Henry Josey, and Paul Turner play their way into fans’ hearts only to be unceremoniously waived, the Eagles finally found a good one and locked him up too.
From there, Hall appeared in nine games for the Eagles as a deep bench rotational end, logging 50 defensive snaps, and 71 special teams snaps as the Eagles’ fifth defensive end option. Hall’s presence kept Miller on the bench for the entirety of his rookie season and even made it tricky for mid-season acquisition Genard Avery to see the field at defensive end, though that, friends, is a completely different story (more on it here).
But then, disaster struck.
On the very last snap of the 2019 regular season, Hall went down with an apparent leg injury and was eventually diagnosed with a torn ACL, effectively ending his season, and putting his 2020 campaign in serious doubt. Maybe Hall could put in a herculean, Brandon Brooks-ean effort, power through his rehab, and make his return to the field just in time for the preseason but with the preseason now canceled and roster limits shrunk from 90 to 80 before camp even opens, he rapidly became a roster casualty alongside fellow household names like Khalil Tate, Shelton Gibson, and Albert Huggins.
And for now, Hall’s tenure with the Eagles, not to mention his immediate football playing career, is over.
While some team may opt to give Daeshon Hall a shot depending on his injury timeline, having to start again on another team in another system has to be the worst possible position to find oneself in the middle of an ongoing global pandemic. With that being said, I genuinely hope Hall does find a home moving forward, as his 2019 preseason clearly highlights a legit NFL-caliber defensive end, and it would be a shame to lose that opportunity due to a potent combination of injury and external strife. Who knows, that home may even be back with the Philadelphia Eagles later this fall?