The New England Patriots retooled the weapons in the passing game, but it’s a legit speed threat if the aerial attack is missing something. The newly signed Marvin Hall was likely acquired to help fill that void.
Pats’ Pulpit’s Bernd Buchmasser sees Hall playing outside, much like former Patriots Damiere Byrd and Phillip Dorsett. He wrote:
Hall has played a variety of roles going back all the way to his college days, but the expectation is that he will serve as an outside wide receiver in New England’s scheme — filling a role similar to the one Damiere Byrd and Phillip Dorsett played in the past. They were used primarily as X-receivers who had the straight-line speed to challenge defenses deep. While both had their ups and downs, it would not be a surprise if the Patriots tried to employ Hall that way as well based on his previous usage in the NFL and his speed (he ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in 2016).
The Patriots drafted another speedster in the seventh round in Tre Nixon. While he seems to be impressing coaches early on, he’s still a seventh-round selection, and anything can happen.
Hall’s experience, similar skill set, and versatility might give him an advantage, at least as it pertains to making the 53-man roster.
Hall Could Contribute on Special Teams
Hall is primarily a wide receiver, but he has played other roles in the NFL.
Buchmasser discussed some of Hall’s previous experience on all phases of special teams:
Even though he saw significantly more snaps on offense than in the kicking game last year, Hall has considerable experience playing in the game’s third phase. He played on all four units — punt return and coverage, kickoff return and coverage — while with the Falcons, and also has seen some action as a returner: Hall has run back 29 kicks for an average of 22.1 yards per return, as well as 3 punts for 5.3 yards per attempt.
Gunner Olszewski was elected to the Pro Bowl based on his strong year as a punt returner in 2020. It’s unclear if he’ll have a more significant role as a receiver this season, and if so, that could impact New England’s decision to play him on special teams.
Could Hall slot into that role?
The Patriots’ Likely WR Depth Chart
New England’s wide receiver group would have looked a lot scarier had they acquired Julio Jones in a blockbuster trade. That didn’t happen, and while many Pats fans are likely a little bummed, the group that New England will put on the field this year is still much better than they had in 2020.
Per ESPN.com, this is a look at the Patriots’ projected WR depth chart:
|Nelson Agholor||N’Keal Harry||Tre Nixon||Devin Smith|
|Kendrick Bourne||Marvin Hall||Matthew Slater||Kristian Wilkerson|
|Jakobi Meyers||Gunner Olszewski||Isaiah Zuber||–|
Right now, Hall is listed as Bourne’s backup, and he doesn’t figure to get much challenge from Matthew Slater, who plays exclusively special teams, nor the young Kristian Wilkerson, who was barely active for a game in 2020.
Hall might have found himself in the right place, landing with the Patriots. Perhaps he’ll get as much of a chance to shine in Foxboro as he’s had throughout his career.
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