Bryce Hall, CB, NY Jets
By default, the Jets' top cornerback is second-year player Bryce Hall — one of the best value picks from last year's 2020 NFL Draft class.
An ankle injury at Virginia wiped out the majority of Hall's senior season. As a result, Hall was unable to run at the NFL Combine, and questions about his position fit in the pros led to him sliding to the fifth round.
Many experts had projected the All-ACC standout to be a late first or early second-round pick the year before. Hall, a team captain at Virginia, returned for his senior season as the nation's highest-graded FBS cornerback by Pro Football Focus.
Hall's slide in the draft ended up benefitting the Jets, however, it took a little while for Gang Green to see the returns on their low-risk investment. Hall didn't make his on-field debut until November of last season. But almost immediately, he made his presence felt starting seven games.
By season's end, Hall's overall PFF grade hovered in the low 60s (59.9 overall/62.8 coverage grade), which ranked him in the middle of the pack at his respective position (67th out of 121). An area where other established cornerbacks like Byron Jones and Stephon Gilmore resided in 2020.
One of the big knocks on Bryce Hall coming out of college was a concern about whether or not he could play in a defense that leaves their corners on an island. Under Gregg Williams' aggressive approach, Hall held up fairly well playing isolated man coverage.
With the Jets' new defensive staff moving more towards a press/zone-based scheme, cornerbacks are asked to defend an area more than an individual receiver. Bryce Hall, at 6-foot-1, might have the perfect skill set to excel in his second year removed from injury.
Although Hall had only one interception last season in limited action, one of his best traits coming out of school was his ball skills and the ability to use his length to force incompletions (40.9 percent, fourth among all FBS cornerbacks).
Another promising piece of evidence that suggests that Bryce Hall could excel in the Jets' new defensive scheme is how well he graded out in zone coverage last season. Among rookie cornerbacks, Hall had the third-best zone coverage (75.4).
Hall's length and physicality should be an asset within the Jets' new scheme, and there's enough evidence to suggest that his best is yet to come.