First-round pick from 2012 draft looks to challenge for starting position in ’15 after strong ’14 finish ... Earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his two-INT, one TD performance in playoff-clinching win Dec. 22 vs. Denver ... Had key INT in shutout win at Cleveland the week before ... Also a special teams standout, he tied for third in special teams tackles (nine) and downed four punts at or inside opponent six-yard line ... His three INTs in 2013 tied for team lead ... A multiple first-team All-America selection at Alabama, he helped lead team in 2011 to its second BCS National Championship in his three years at the school.
Career transactions: Selected by Cincinnati in first round of 2012 NFL Draft (17th overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 5-18-12 ... Bengals exercised option to extend contract by one year through 2016 on 4-28-15.
2014 general: Played in Games 1-16 (two starts), and started at LCB in Wild Card playoff for Terence Newman, who played as reserve in his first game back after an illness ... Had 14 tackles on defense, with three INTs (tied for second on team, one returned for a TD) and seven passes defensed ... On Sept. 14 vs. Atlanta, downed a punt at the four-yard line and teamed with LS Clark Harris to down another at the one ... Had two special teams tackles on Nov. 2 vs. Jacksonville and teamed with WR James Wright to down a Kevin Huber punt at the six-yard line ... On Nov. 6 vs. Cleveland, teamed with James Wright to down a punt at three-yard line ... On Nov. 16 at New Orleans, the first of his two passes defensed broke up a play to WR Marques Colston in end zone, the first play of a Bengals goal line stand ... Recorded his first INT of the year on Dec. 14 at Cleveland, picking off Johnny Manziel in second quarter at Browns 35, returning to 33 and setting up a FG ... On Dec. 22 vs. Denver, had two INTs of Peyton Manning, including a 30-yard return for a TD to give Bengals a 37-28 lead in the fourth quarter ... His second INT came vs. Denver came with 1:07 to play, putting game on ice as it ended Denver threat that had reached Bengals 19 ... Started at LCB in place of injured Newman on Dec. 28 at Pittsburgh and logged three tackles and a pass defensed, breaking up a pass in the end zone ... In Wild Card playoff on 1-4-15 at Indianapolis, forced Colts to settle for a FG with a third-down pass defensed in end zone, and logged three tackles.
Previous seasons: 2012—Worked his way back from preseason knee injury to make debut in Game 8, Nov. 4 vs. Denver, but a concussion suffered in Game 12 at San Diego, combined with recurrence of knee injury, sidelined him for remainder of season ... Played in five games (Games 8-12), with two tackles on defense and two on special teams ... Saw first defensive action of his career late in game on Nov. 11 vs. N.Y. Giants (no statistics), replacing injured CB Adam Jones. 2013—Played in 14 games (Games 1-2 and 5-16), with starts at LCB in Games 14-16 and in the team’s Wild Card playoff vs. San Diego, in place of injured Terence Newman ... Totaled 30 tackles on defense and four on special teams ... Recorded three INTs (one returned for TD), one sack and five passes defensed ... Was inactive for Games 3-4 due to hamstring injury ...: Had two tackles Nov. 17 vs. Cleveland, including his first career sack, a one-yarder of Jason Campbell ... Won a 50-50 ball from Pro Bowl TE Antonio Gates at the Bengals’ 25-yard line in the third quarter on Dec. 1 at San Diego, and the Bengals responded with TD drive to take lead for good at 14-7 ... First career start on Dec. 15 at Pittsburgh, subbing for injured Terence Newman, and logged four tackles ... Started Dec. 29 vs. Baltimore and had career-high nine tackles (led secondary) with two INTs; the second returned 21 yards for TD in fourth quarter ... Two tackles in Wild Card playoff on 1-5-14 vs. San Diego.
College: Played three seasons (2009-11) at Alabama, helping Tide to 36-4 record that included BCS national championships in ’09 (14-0 record) and ’11 (13-1 record) ... Entered NFL draft after junior season ... Played in 38 games, with starts in 25 contests (12 as a sophomore and 13 as a junior) ... Totaled 91 tackles, three INTs, 16 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a TD on a blocked punt return ... Started all 13 games as a junior for unbeaten BCS national champs ... Had no INTs as a junior (nine passes defensed and two forced fumbles), but analysts recognized opponents’ reluctance to throw in his area, and he still earned first-team All-America honors from Football Writers Association and Pro Football Weekly, along with second-team nod from Associated Press.
Personal: Hometown is Gadsden, Ala. ... Attended Gadsden (Ala.) City High School, where he earned ratings among the elite college CB prospects in the nation ... Earned All-America honors from Parade, USA Today and Super Prep ... Was a general studies major at Alabama ... First name is pronounced “DRAY.”
Adam Jones broke down and wept when he saw what happened to Leon Hall early in Sunday's game in Detroit. Then he saw fellow cornerback Terence Newman crying and it got even worse.
This is one of the reasons defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is known as one of the best secondary coaches around, which was his job his first seven seasons in the NFL.
If cornerback Leon Hall is The General of the secondary, then safety Reggie Nelson is The Admiral and Admiral Nelson was pleased with how the defense communicated against the Falcons on Monday.