The New York Jets signed the first of their nine draft picks on Monday night, inking fifth round pick Bryce Hall to a four-year, $3.6 million deal.
The drafting of Hall was a bit of a masterstroke from general manager Joe Douglas. Projected to be taken in the second or the third round, Hall instead slipped to the Jets in the fifth round. It was an impressive steal, especially considering that following the 2018 season, Hall was projected to be a top 50 pick in the NFL Draft he decided to forego his senior season at Virginia.
Instead, an ankle injury cut short his season and Hall’s draft stock plummeted.
Before the injury, he was a pre-season All-American. His scouting report was stellar: intelligence, ball skills, athleticism, and size. He was considered a team leader in and out of the locker room and projections had him as a starting caliber cornerback.
On the Jets, he has the size and skillset to be a starting caliber cornerback. If he is healthy come training camp, he could make a bid to start opposite Pierre Desir. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and a nice wingspan. Instinctually, he has all the traits of being a press corner.
At Virginia, Hall was a starter all four years. He switched between safety and cornerback depending on the program’s needs. Over those four seasons, he made 154 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles, five interceptions, and 38 pass breakups in 42 games.
The Virginia coaches told NFL Draft expert Rich Cirminiello that Hall should be 100% at some point this season. Jets head coach Adam Gase knows that what Hall shows on day one might be limited while he’s recovering.
While his health is a concern, his productivity at Virginia along with his projections from a season ago give optimism for the Jets that he can grow into a prominent role in the secondary. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he has experience playing safety as well.
Hall’s signature could get the ball moving on the team’s remaining selections are un-signed. Mekhi Becton, Denzel Mims, Ashtyn Davis, Jabari Zuniga, La’Mical Perine, James Morgan, Cameron Clark, and Braden Mann have all yet to sign contracts.