Bryce Hall has been considered by many NFL analysts around the league as a "steal" in the 2020 NFL Draft after being taken in the fifth round by the Jets. Originally predicted by scouts and analysts to be a high-round talent in 2019, Hall opted to play one final year at Virginia before entering this year's draft.
"Bryce came back and surprised a lot of people because he was on that path to be a first- or second-round draft pick," said Richmond Times-Dispatch beat writer Mike Barber. "He led the nation in pass breakups, his one-on-one coverage skills were through the roof, and NFL scouts were really excited about him. Most people I spoke to projected that he would leave and would be a high pick, but there were some things that Bryce wanted to improve on personally, one of those being his ball skills. Like I said, he led the nation in pass breakups, and he watched videos of those plays and thought 3, 4, 5 or 6 of them should have been interceptions. That was a big area of emphasis for him."
Hall began his football journey at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, PA as a first-team Class AAA all-state wide receiver, averaging 17.4 yards per catch before transitioning full time to defensive back at Virginia. In 2018 — his best collegiate season — Hall started all 13 games and recorded 62 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 FFs and an FBS-leading 24 PDs. His performance led him to be named first-team All-ACC.
"If you have Bryce Hall, he to me is the epitome of a lockdown corner, and certainly he was in the ACC," said Barber. "He's a guy that can take away a third of the field, as coaches like to say. That really showed up in the way teams chose to attack him, or not attack him. It showed up in the fact that sometimes Bryce Hall would get locked on a guy, and you could tell that offensive coordinators and playcallers would say to themselves, 'OK, that's not an option now, we're not going to throw at Bryce.' The best players at that position in the NFL, and certainly the New York Jets have had a number of them, are guys who teams are essentially afraid to throw at. I think Bryce Hall showed that at the college level."
The 6'1", 202-pound cornerback was on the path to the draft after a successful 2018 season before opting to play his senior year at Virginia. His year was cut short, however, after he suffered a season-ending ankle injury while participating on special teams. Hall was a versatile DB, contributing to many other areas around the team. During his time covering the Virginia CB, Barber said Hall showed a willingness to adjust and play other positions, making him a fit in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' scheme, which requires each player to learn a minimum of two positions.
"One of the things his coaches talk about the most with him is his time studying film and learning the entire defense," Barber said. "He's just a guy that's mentally ready to attack everything when it comes to football. He helps other players — he helped the other corners at Virginia — but he helped the other safeties. He could work with the linebackers and he understood the entire defense."