INDIANAPOLIS — Bryce Hall was a dominant cornerback at Virginia in 2018.
Hall, a First-team All-ACC selection as a junior in 2018, led the nation with 24 passes defended. After being converted high school wide receiver, Hall blossomed into a top tier corner who delivers an exciting package of size, physicality, athleticism and, of course, elite ball skills.
In a year when the first cornerback didn’t get selected until No. 30 in an NFL that covets the position more than ever, many believed Hall had a chance to be the first one off the board in 2018.
Instead, Hall returned to Virginia for his senior season to develop his leadership skills and for personal growth. Unfortunately, Hall’s final campaign at Virginia ended after six starts due to an ankle injury that required surgery. While he is expected to be ready for training camp, the injury derailed his promising trajectory.
Hall still believes he made the right decision to return to school.
“I have no regrets at all,” Hall said Friday at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. “When I look back at how that process went after the injury, I felt like it prepared something in me and it did the work in me that, had I not been able to experience that, it would have never been done. I feel like I’m at a whole other level in terms of where my mindset is with the knowledge of the game that I have.
"My priorities just got purified as well. I feel like I grew as a leader. I had to operate where I felt like I wasn’t necessarily as comfortable, and I felt like I grew in that aspect. The impact I was able to have and the relationships I was able to build over that time made a huge difference.”
Now part of a deeper and more talented class of cornerback prospects, Hall enters the process still rehabbing from the ankle injury and without the momentum of a full season of elite-level play. Despite those factors, Hall believes it’s the mental aspects of his game that distinguishes him from the group.
“It’s the way I prepare, how serious I am in my preparations,” Hall said. “I feel like we’re all similar athletic wise, but I think it’s my mind that takes me to a different place and how seriously I take this. That’s what I would say gives me an edge.”
There is important information that is missing from Hall’s evaluation when projecting him to the next level. Without being able to validate his athletic profile with testing at the combine or his own Pro Day, Hall is focusing on components of his profile that cannot be measured when meeting with interested teams.
“The impression I want to leave is that I’m somebody who is prepared,’’ Hall said. “I’m going to come in from Day 1 and be determined to work. I want to strive to be a leader. I’m not comfortable with being good in this league, I want to be great. That’s the impression, that’s the mindset I want to leave in everybody’s head.”
Time will reveal how much teams are troubled with the incomplete evaluation of Hall given his injury status, but Hall has plenty to hang his hat on.
Whether it’s the development on the field and high-level skills he showcased while performing at a premium position or the overall character and leadership traits Hall possesses, there is plenty for the NFL to be excited about with Hall.