I think there's a chance that T. Hall can return to the team later in the off-season. Hartwell is definitely a hard-nosed aggressive middle man. I really think he's a poor man's Ray Lewis.
I said this about him in my 2001 draft preview:
When I watched Hartwell play, he reminded me of those throwback middle linebackers. Just a mean guy who just wants to go around messing up every play by hitting a running back two yards behind the line or tipping a pass at the line of scrimmage. Just one of those menaces to offenses. He's the type of player that makes having a good fullback necessary. He isn't very big, but is strong and tough, with decent speed. He may not be the next Ray Lewis, but he has a nose for the football that reminds me of Ray Lewis.
And I still feel like that today. My only concerns are these:
1) His readjustment to the 4-3. I don't think it's a huge problem, but excelling in the 3-4 for 3 years beside arguably one of the Top 5 greatest defenders of all time, doesn't make his adjustment that much easy.
2) He's a bit one dimensional. He'll have to be yanked in passing situations. He's basically a 2-down guy that struggles in coverage. Not a huge issue since guys like Reese, Demorrio, and Brooking can pick up the slack.
He's a guy that should have been a hotter commodity on the market, but I think teams were wary of those things I mentioned and weren't exactly ready to pay big bucks to a 2-down linebacker that may or may not excel in their scheme. He's not a super fast guy either, so don't buy totally into that "Super Speedy LB Corps" stuff that I'm sure you're going to hear a lot about over the next week or so. He proabbly only having speed around 4.75 (He was clocked at 4.85 coming out of school), which is not slow for a linebacker, but definitely not fast either. But what he does have is a quick burst, something I think both Demorrio and Brooking have as well. And that's really what LBs need. Brooking has as good as burst as any LB in the league, IMO, and that's why I think is why people tout him so much. Demorrio has good burst, but it stems a lot from his good long speed.
A great signing, and he's a Pro Bowl type player that really upgrades the entire front 7. Now I think a big concern is improving the DTs so that we can have better guys that can keep blockers off him. If Antwan Lake enters this year's training camp at anything higher than our #4 DT, we're in trouble. He's a marginal NFL player that would be fighting to make most NFL team's practice squads.