Hindsight is an interesting thing. Sometimes it can lead to regret, other times it can lead to a sense of relief in knowing that a correct decision was made. And then there are times where it can just lead to a fantasy trip, in which one attempts to lay out a story as if a different scenario played out.
Any one of these options could be feelings by those within and who follow the Bengals organization--particularly with the 2007 NFL Draft. That year, head coach Marvin Lewis and Co. decided to go with Michigan cornerback Leon Hall with the No. 18 overall pick. Most who predicted the draft called that the team would draft the position early, with the decision coming down to Hall or Darrelle Revis out of the University of Pittsburgh.
True to their conservative nature as a franchise, the Bengals stayed put to see which one landed in their lap. Revis went at No.14 to the New York Jets, making the choice of Hall a clear one. In that draft, Revis was considered to be the player with "the higher ceiling", while Hall was more of the sound technician and maybe a bit more steady. Those labels have rung true at this point in their careers.
In speaking with the media on Wednesday, Lewis threw out a nugget when recalling the decision to draft one of those corners in 2007:
going into 07 draft, Lewis says Bengals thought they'd get Revis at No 18 and not Hall— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) October 1, 2014
Revis shot off with a great start to his career with the Jets, going to Pro Bowls with them each year from 2008-2011, and being named an All-Pro from 2009-2011. Unfortunately, Revis tore his knee up in 2012 and was then shipped to Tampa Bay. This followed multiple high-profile contract disputes with the Jets front office, making life a bit difficult for a franchise always seeming to revel in drama. He made the Pro Bowl in 2013, though his stats weren't overly impressive with just two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
True to his fickle nature, Revis was a free agent this offseason and jumped to a new team--the New England Patriots. This decision was made after heavily flirting with a Jets reunion, but he bolted to their division rival after signing a one-year deal worth $12 million. The deal is also complete with a second year option worth about $20 million. He is off to a decent start in 2014 with his new club, collecting one interception, one forced fumble and three passes defensed.
Hall, on the other hand, hasn't had nearly as much fanfare in his career, but he has been solid. He hasn't made a Pro Bowl to date, but has 24 career interceptions in seven-plus seasons--which includes two years that were cut short because of Achilles injuries (2011, 2013). Hall also has five forced fumbles and two recoveries in that span and has become one of the team's locker room leaders on defense. Hall's 2014 season has been solid, racking up an interception and two passes defensed.
This comment made by Lewis provides and interesting opportunity to go down memory lane and ask "what if...?". The good news is that both players have had good careers, even with some of devastating injuries they've sustained. Hall and Revis will see each other once again this Sunday Night in Foxboro.