Position: Defensive End Size: 6-6, 302 Age: 29 College: Grambling State
Drafted: Third Round, 92nd overall, in 2006
Experience: Entering his seventh season
Contract status: In the second year of a three-year contract, $6 million contract, Hatcher is scheduled to make a $1.5 million base salary in 2012.
2011 review: Jason Hatcher’s development as a player took longer than expected. And it wasn’t certain whether he would be back last season as the Cowboys made an effort to retain another defensive end, the promising Stephen Bowen. But when Bowen signed with the Washington Redskins, the Cowboys made a push to keep Hatcher.
In August 2011, Hatcher rejoined the Cowboys and eventually emerged as a regular starter under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. With his promotion, he became the team’s most effective defensive end among players who were on the field for more than 300 snaps. Hatcher established career-high marks in sacks (4.5) and combined tackles (28). He also intercepted a pass and batted down two others while forcing a fumble.
“I had fun,” Hatcher said. “My role expanded. I worked my butt off and got to be a starter. I had a lot of fun. I think last year was the most fun I had. Coach Ryan came in and gave me an opportunity and I took advantage of it.”
2012 Outlook: There is a surplus of defensive ends on the roster at the moment. But Hatcher’s position seems secure especially now that Marcus Spears has moved back over to the left side. Even if that development didn’t happen, Hatcher has proven he is worthy of starting now that he is entering the prime of his career and is coming off his best season in Dallas. Among 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL, Hatcher was rated the ninth-most effective in the league by ProFootballFocus.com in 2011.
That’s not surprising to those who have watched him progress. Hatcher is known as a hard worker and another year in Ryan’s system should help him and the other players on the defensive line.
“I’m just looking forward to having a better year this year than last year,” Hatcher said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Jason Dewayne Hatcher
(born July 13, 1982) is a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Grambling State University, and was drafted in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Hatcher was born in Alexandria, Louisiana and was raised in Jena and attended Jena High School where he lettered in football and basketball. As a senior, he helped his team to a 10-3 record and earned all-state honors after catching 28 passes for 1,028 yards as a tight end.
Hatcher attended Grambling State University where he majored in physical education.
As a true freshman, he was ruled academically ineligible due to NCAA requirements. Then, in 2002, he was granted a medical redshirt after rupturing his right ACL. In 2003, as a sophomore he started at tight end and caught one pass for 14 yards and a two-point conversion before being converted to defensive end midway through the season. After changing positions, he recorded 13 tackles, three sacks and one pass broken up. In 2003, as a junior, he played his first full season at defensive end and finished the year with 33 tackles, 10 for losses and five sacks. As a senior he recorded 65 tackles.
He finished his career with 111 tackles, 31.5 for losses and 18.5 sacks.
Hatcher was selected in the 3rd round (92nd overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
As a rookie, Hatcher played in 14 games, missing two with a sprained ankle. For the season, he recorded 13 tackles, one for a loss and 2.5 sacks. In 2007, he played in all 16 games and recorded 35 tackles, three for losses and two sacks, while forcing one fumble. In 2008, Hatcher recorded 36 tackles, one for a loss, one pass broken up and one sack. In 2009, he played in all 16 games and recorded 29 tackles, one sack and one pass breakup. In 2010, he started his first career game and recorded 13 tackles and one sack.
Hatcher and his wife Natasha have two sons, DiCarlos and Jason, Jr. and one daughter, Tamia. He is a relative of Bryant Purvis, who was facing attempted murder charges as one of the Jena Six. Charges have since been reduced to aggravated battery.
Hatcher hopes to one day become a head football coach.