The good news for Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall: He’s been medically cleared by doctors.
Will that be enough to put Hall back into the first- or second-round conversation?
The general feeling among analysts is “no.”
And that means, whoever winds up taking the 5-foot-11, 202-pound senior could be getting a steal on Day 2 or Day 3.
Among the players who sustained injuries recently who received positive reviews from teams evaluating their medicals: South Caroilina WR Bryan Edwards (fifth metatarsal, cleared by May), #Utah S Julian Blackmon (ACL, cleared by July), and #Virginia CB Bryce Hall (ankle, cleared).
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2020
It’s widely believed Hall would have been a first-rounder last year had he entered the draft as a junior. Hall led the nation in 2018 with 22 pass breakups. He also had 62 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 2forced fumbles. Hence, the first-round buzz.
Instead, Hall returned for his senior year, only to have it cut short after six games when he suffered a broken left leg and dislocated left ankle while playing in punt coverage against Miami.
To put it bluntly, Hall’s loss was other CBs’ gain, as players like TCU’s Jeff Gladney, Utah’s Jaylon Johnson, Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene and Clemson’s A.J. Terrell have since risen above Hall in most analysts’ cornerback rankings.
That’s not necessarily a knock on Hall, either. Part of the issue he faces is the perceived depth of the cornerback position, as analysts generally see this as a fairly strong class through the first three rounds.
But the lower ranking can also be attributed to turnovers, or Hall’s lack of them. He has five career interceptions, including two his freshman and junior years, but he reportedly could have had more. Analysts say Hall may be scheme-specific, too, as he mostly played as a Cover 2 cornerback, and they wonder about his play speed and athletic limitations. Prior to the injury, Hall was burned by Florida State receiver Tamorrion Terry, who is considered a potential early-round prospect in 2021.
Those questions, combined with the injury, are the reasons why Hall isn’t rated higher.
But he’s still widely regarded as a third- to a fourth-round prospect who could sneak into the second round.
“Two years ago, you saw a guy that certainly looked like he could be an early-round pick,” Kiper said during a recent teleconference. “He has some physicality to his game. He’s over 6-1; he can match up against the bigger receivers. He showed he can cover when he was healthy two years ago. He showed he could do everything. To me, he was a second-round pick prior to that [injury]; some thought first [round].
“If you can get him in the third or fourth round, I think Bryce Hall would make a lot of sense.”
Jake Rigdon (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.