Round 5, Pick 158: Cornerback – Bryce Hall, Virginia
Gang Green’s in round five could be the steal of the draft. At pick 158, the New York Jets selected corner Bryce Hall from the University of Virginia. Before Hall decided to come back for his senior season with the Cavaliers, he was projected as a first-round talent. After just six games in 2019, Hall broke his fibula and missed the rest of the season.
Hall is a press corner who excels in man-to-man coverage. During his junior year, he recorded 62 tackles, two interceptions, and an FBS-leading 21 pass breakups. His other strength is tackling. With Virginia, Hall had the chance to make plays in the backfield in certain blitz packages. He is a very physical player who is not afraid to get his hands dirty.
The Jets have been hurting at cornerback for some time now. When Gase benched Trumaine Johnson last season, they saw an uptick in quality from Arthur Maulet and Blessuan Austin. Williams loves his press corners, and Bryce Hall fits that role.
Having press cornerbacks who can also shut down a receiver again allows Williams to utilize the many blitz packages that he has in the playbook. If Hall can reclaim his junior year self, the Jets could be getting first-round talent at a major discount.
Round 6, Pick 191: Punter – Braden Mann, Texas A&M
With their last pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jets took punter, Braden Mann. The former Aggie had a successful run at Texas A&M, winning the 2018 Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best college punter. In that season, Mann averaged 51 yards per punt, consistently flipping the field for the defense. Mann showcases a big leg and an ability to pin teams inside the 20-yard line.
In 2019, Mann was able to lock down opposing teams inside the 20-yard line 26 times in 57 total punts. One of Mann’s strengths is his ability to kick off, which changes the dynamic for Gang Green. They can now focus on getting an accurate placekicker to put the ball between the uprights, instead of one who can drive the ball a long way.
Another point, Mann can make open-field tackles. Between 2018 and 2019, the former Aggie picked up 11 tackles and forced a fumble.
New York has endured inconsistent play at the punter position since Steve Weatherford‘s short run from 2009-2010. The team got a productive 2017 from Lachlan Edwards, but he regressed in the following two seasons. With the struggles the team had on offense, the Jets were handcuffed with a punter who couldn’t flip the field. Adding Mann gives them the leg to do it.