The New York Jets signed linebacker Maalik Hall as an undrafted free agent in April. However, he spent the entire 2023 season on injured reserve after a preseason injury. Today we’re going to break Hall down in detail.
The 24-year old Hall is listed at 6’3” and 235 pounds and was undrafted out of Southeastern Oklahoma State. He played in one preseason game with the Jets in 2023.
Hall attended high school in Texas before joining the Southeastern Oklahoma State Savage Storm to play in Division 2’s Great American Conference.
His first two seasons in 2017 and 2018 saw Hall convert from tight end to linebacker and register a total of 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. He moved into a bigger role in 2019 and had 15 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup in the first four games but then got injured and opted to redshirt. The 2020 season was then cancelled due to the pandemic.
In 2021, Hall finally got a chance to be a full-time starter and he responded well, as he was named the all-GAC defensive player of the year and earned all-conference first team honors and an honorable mention as an all-American. He had 54 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and six sacks.
In 2022, Hall had 77 tackles and eight sacks, but this time did not earn any all-conference recognition. Nevertheless, his stock was rising heading into the draft after a solid pro day workout.
Having gone unselected in the 2023 NFL draft, Hall signed with the Jets and attended training camp with them. He was injured in the Hall of Fame Game, though, and ended up on injured reserve.
Now let’s take a look at what Hall brings to the table, divided into categories.
Despite being listed at 6’3”, Hall actually measured at just half an inch over 6-feet at his pro day. He does have a good wingspan though.
Hall weighed just 176 pounds when he arrived at Southeastern, adding 10 pounds in his first season and getting up to 210 by the start of his second season.
His pro day numbers for speed and explosiveness were excellent, as he ran a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 38-inch vertical. His agility numbers were below average, but he did record 22 bench press reps.
Hall was a versatile player in college, having originally seen time at tight end. He would often line up with his hand in the dirt and rush off the edge, but towards the end of his career he played off the ball more, both outside the tackle box and at middle linebacker.
Hall was a productive defender against the run, at his best when he can be kept clean and close on the ball carrier. He is solid in pursuit.
His main weakness is when encountered with a blocker, which can lead to him being sealed off or caught up in traffic.
He shows good discipline in the running game, staying at home on this play and then closing to get in on the stop.
Hall shows pretty good movement skills for a linebacker, especially one who has played on the defensive line. He didn’t intercept a pass in college, but he was credited with three pass breakups in his career.
On this play he drops and makes contact with the receiver but just allows him to separate at the catchpoint for the first down.
Hall’s lack of height could be an issue if he is ever required to match up with a tight end.
Hall has been a productive tackler, shows range in pursuit and takes good angles to the football. However, he will at times allow his man to fall forward or drag him for extra yardage as he’s getting him to the ground.
He forced three fumbles in his last two seasons.
As noted, Hall has played at the defensive end position, so his pass rushing skills are likely more developed than most linebackers with an impressive 14 sacks in his last two seasons with the Savage Storm. He spins off the block well to get home on this play.
On this play, he initially drops off in coverage but then hustles to get pressure on the quarterback after he rolls out and forces the throw-away.
Hall has covered kicks, rushed punts and seen action as a blocker during his time in college and in preseason. He got downfield well on this punt in preseason.
He earned special teams player of the week honors in a 2018 game where his blocked punt was recovered on the one-yard line to set up an important touchdown.
As he is slightly undersized, the concern for Hall is that he can be too easily moved off his spot by blockers.
Even when blocked by a tight end he can be driven back or to the ground, and teams had some success running at him even at the Division 2 level.
Hall seems to display good play recognition, positional sense and gap discipline, although there are times where he is reacting rather than anticipating.
Despite having played at a lower level, his scheme knowledge will have been helped by his on-field versatility.
Hall was a team captain for his last two years in college and is regarded as mature, coachable and approachable. He doesn’t have any apparent issues with on or off-field discipline.
As noted, Hall spent all of 2023 on injured reserve and also redshirted a year due to injury in college. The nature of each of these injuries was undisclosed, although in preseason it looked like maybe a shoulder or elbow injury.
Although he only played seven defensive snaps in preseason, it was apparent that the Jets were using Hall as the third linebacker in base packages, so he was rotating in and out of the game based on situations.
He lined up outside the tackle box and dropped back into zone coverage whenever it was a pass.
The Jets brought in Hall along with two other undrafted linebackers last season but both Caleb Johnson and Claudin Cherelus are gone now. Ironically, getting injured so early has potentially given Hall a second chance and the Jets could bring him to camp again in 2024.
While a long shot to make the roster, the Jets aren’t exactly loaded with linebacker depth so it’s not impossible Hall could put himself in the mix for a practice squad spot or something if he’s been studying hard while rehabbing his injury.