Can Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall return to form and prove himself to be the steal of the draft for the New York Jets?
Cornerback was one of the Jets’ primary needs coming into the draft, but it was not addressed until way down in the fifth round at No. 158 overall.
Luckily for the Jets, they were able to snag a player who was widely considered a first-round talent until a season-ending left ankle injury in 2019 – Virginia’s Bryce Hall.
Can Hall prove to be a Day 3 gem for the Jets secondary?
Let’s dig into the numbers.
Elite 2018 season
Hall was spectacular in his 2018 junior season. He made a ton of plays on the football, putting himself in position to potentially be a first-round pick if he declared for the 2019 Draft.
In addition to two interceptions, Hall recorded 21 pass deflections in 2018, which led the entire nation. That also tied him for the most deflections in a single season by an ACC player since 2000 (as far back as data is available). A wide receiver in high school, Hall has carried over those ball skills to the defensive side.
On-ball plays are nice, but they alone do not tell the whole story. Sometimes, a cornerback’s struggles are masked by a misleading number of passes defended.
That is not the case with Hall. In 2018, he allowed just 6.1 yards per target and a 69.0 passer rating, giving up 34 completions on 72 targets (47.2% rate) for 436 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.
To boot, Hall threw in two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He deservedly earned First-Team All-ACC honors.
Excellent 2017 season
Hall’s sophomore box score numbers (eight passes defended, one interception, one sack, one forced fumble) are not as eye-popping as the totals he would post the following season, but his coverage was just as good.
In 2017, Hall allowed 26 completions on 59 targets (44.1% rate) for 351 yards (5.9 per target), three touchdowns, and one interception (73.5 passer rating).
Despite missing eight games in 2019, Hall still ranked third in the nation with 37 forced incompletions from 2018-19 (which includes passes broken up that don’t register in the box score in addition to deflections and interceptions).