New York Jets rookie cornerback Bryce Hall displayed tantalizing ability in his first start against the receiver-loaded Los Angeles Chargers.
If you envisioned Deion Sanders-type athleticism, quickly label yourself an idiot and skip town. Only a select group of humans can move the way Prime Time could. If you believe only athleticism matters when playing cornerback in the NFL, you can forget about skipping town. Instead, buy a plane ticket and bolt for a country that loves its soccer.
Playing the most discriminated-against position in the NFL requires athleticism, speed, but most importantly, situational awareness and smarts. It’s something New York Jets rookie Bryce Hall knows a thing or two about.
Joe Douglas‘s fifth-round draft pick made his starting debut against the Los Angeles Chargers this past Sunday. Racking up seven total tackles, including one for a loss, the kid was seemingly everywhere and displayed tantalizing ability against a loaded receiving group.
Hall’s situational awareness is by far his greatest attribute. Never thinking about himself alone, the Virginia product is always working as one of 11—a key defensive ability Hall demonstrated in his first-ever NFL start.
The very first series featured Hall coming up hard on a bubble screen:
Take note of the defensive call. The Chargers had a ton of green space on this play courtesy of what looked to be a Tampa 2 call with slot corner Arthur Maulet moving into the deep-hole zone (in between the two deep-half safeties). This means Maulet’s direction clashed with the natural flow of the play, creating more space.
His recognition of the play is also noteworthy. Beating everybody to the punch is the direct result of how he uses his eyes. Hall uses his eyes extremely well, including off the ball when monitoring the receiver’s midsection (hip) in order to not take the release bait, and loves to get his head around quickly when playing a hard curl-flat zone.
He was able to make the tackle in this situation due to situational awareness. Knowing he has over-the-top help in the form of Marcus Maye (deep-half), he can and should play things aggressively in his flat-curl. Other times, however, he knows he shouldn’t.
Later in the game, the Chargers roll with a wide receiver screen out of a bunch, but this time they put a bigger blocker out there specifically designed to take on the previously-aggressive Hall.
Watch how the kid plays this one: