After finding success with long, tall cornerbacks during his time as the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator, current New York Jets head coach Robert Salah should have a perfect schematic fit on his roster in Bryce Hall.
However, Hall seems lost in the mix in New York and is a candidate to be traded before the November 1 deadline, according to Heavy Sports NFL insider Matt Lombardo.
“Jets CB Bryce Hall is going to be available at the #NFL trade deadline, per sources,” Lombardo tweeted on October 17. “Hall, 24, has seen his snaps cut dramatically after NY added DJ Reed and Sauce Gardner, but is one year removed from finishing second in forced incompletions, and is best fit for man schemes.”
Like late-career Richard Sherman, Hall is a Cover 3 specialist who can press at the line and contest passes in the air, but he has logged just five defensive snaps this season. Last year, he played on 1,169 defenses snaps while starting all 17 games. But the Jets landed a one-two punch by signing D.J. Reed Jr. and drafting Sauce Garder, the former fifth-round pick out of Virginia.
For teams looking to add a big, long cornerback with starting experience, Hall has the potential to be an intriguing pickup, especially if the Jets are aggressive in their pursuit of a deal.
Bryce Hall Is an Intriguing Trade Target
Ahead of the 2020 draft, draft analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com liked Hall as a prospect, gushing about his potential before giving him a fourth-round grade and a pro comp to current Philadelphia Eagles cornerback James Bradberry.
“Angular outside corner who uses instinctive footwork and long arms to close out and challenge a healthy percentage of throws,” Zierlein wrote. “His backpedal and transitions are more functional than fluid and could be exploited by NFL route-runners and speedsters. His reactive quickness and ball skills fit nicely into zone-based coverages, allowing greater freedom to spy quarterbacks and squeeze short and intermediate throws. He can handle man coverage, but he needs protection over the top. Hall is a future starting cornerback but might garner attention at free safety at some point in his career.”
Though Hall has yet to play safety with the Jets, a move that could ironically open up more playing time, he has graded out well as a man cornerback. Pro Football Focus ranked him sixth in the NFL in man coverage grade.
Hall Is Unlikely to Join the 49ers
With a need for additional outside bodies following the loss of Emmanuel Moseley to a season-ending ACL injury, a trade for Hall could make sense for the 49ers, right?
Probably not. Excluding the fact that the team just traded away four picks to acquire Christian McCaffrey, including three picks in 2023 alone, the Niners are not a man-heavy team who allow their cornerbacks to hand-fight on an island. Like Salah, his Bay Area successor, DeMeco Ryans, predominantly runs a zone-heavy coverage scheme that relies on mixing things up on the back end as their front rushes the quarterback.
Unless the price is perfect or John Lynch really likes his upside, there isn’t much connecting Hall to the Niners moving forward.