Former Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall was selected by the New York Jets Saturday in the 2020 NFL Draft with the 158th overall pick in the fifth round.
“I just know I’m gonna come in and work as hard as I possibly can,” Hall said after he was drafted Saturday.
Hall was Virginia’s first defensive player to come off the board in this year’s draft and the second Cavalier to be selected after Joe Reed was picked by the Los Angeles Chargers earlier in the day. Hall also continues the Cavaliers’ strong track record of developing NFL-ready defensive backs, joining former Virginia cornerback Tim Harris and safety Juan Thornhill who were drafted last year.
Over the course of his Virginia career, Hall totaled four sacks, five interceptions, 44 passes defended and 154 tackles in 44 games played.
The Harrisburg, Pa. native immediately began contributing as a true freshman in 2016, starting in seven games in his first season on Grounds. Hall continued earning more minutes and improving his play during his sophomore year before his breakout junior season.
In 2018, Hall emerged as a shutdown cornerback, logging 39 solo tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He also recorded 24 passes defended, most in the entire country. Hall quickly became known as one of the best defensive players in the nation and led one of the top secondaries in the FBS.
After his monster third season, Hall was named a 2019 preseason All-American and was ready to continue his dominant play. Unfortunately, Hall’s senior year was cut short after he suffered a season-ending injury against Miami Oct. 11, just six games into the year.
Hall was projected to be picked as high as the second round, but fell all the way to Day 3, likely due to concerns about his recovery from a lower leg injury he sustained in October.
“Basically, right now, my ankle is healed,” Hall said. “It’s just about getting it back to the same range of motion and explosiveness as my other ankle. I’m getting better and stronger every week.”
Despite the setback, the Jets clearly saw Hall’s talent and potential. With a striking combination of speed and technique, expect Hall to be an impact rookie this season.
This story has been updated to include quotes from a press conference with Hall Saturday afternoon.