Jeremiah Hall could not stop smiling. Throughout an entire 7-plus minute exclusive chat with Big Blue View, the New York Giants undrafted free agent rookie tight end/fullback wore a wide smile as he answered questions.
Right now, the former Oklahoma Sooner has reason to smile. Throughout the spring and early portion of training camp, the tight end/fullback appears to be one of the undrafted free agents with a chance to land on the season-opening 53-man roster.
Fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger appears to be the only lock to make the roster among the seven tight ends currently in camp. Veteran Ricky Seals-Jones has been hurt and missed several practices, and neither Chris Myarick nor Jordan Akins have stood out in any appreciable way. Undrafted rookies Austin Allen and Andre Miller are also part of the competition.
During Wednesday’s practice Hall was receiving some first-team reps, especially during the Giants’ 9-on-7 run drill, as he was lined up at fullback at times to lead block for Saquon Barkley. To put that in perspective, Miller, a converted wide receiver out of Maine, also received a handful of reps in that role.
In an exclusive chat with Big Blue View on Wednesday, Hall tried to downplay the significance of these early first-team opportunities.
“I’m all in the mix man. I’m with the 1s, the 2s, the 3s,” Hall said. “At this point in camp it doesn’t really matter, I’m just out there trying to do my job.”
Like a wide-eyed rookie, though, the 23-year-old did that admit that “It’s pretty cool to look behind me and see Saquon Barkley. That’s a guy that I watched my freshman year of college.”
Hall also acknowledged that it can be “a surreal feeling” to be competing against NFL players.
“I joke with (35-year-old placekicker) Graham Gano. I’m like, ‘bro, I grew up in North Carolina. I know exactly who you are. Coming to the NFL and seeing great athletes that you’ve seen on TV is always fun.,” Hall said.
“Being with the ones and going against those guys it gives you a surreal feeling, but at the end of the day I have to do my job.”
Hall spent his first two seasons playing the true fullback position at Oklahoma. His last two years in Norman the Sooners moved him to tight end.
No one else on the Giants’ roster has played fullback, and while he is working in the tight end room Hall is well aware that his experience in multiple roles works to his advantage in the competition for roster spots.
“In terms of playing multiple positions I think I have an advantage of just understanding concepts a little bit easier than some guys. Some guys may focus on just receiver or just running back, whereas I’m more of a conceptual guy,” Hall said. “So I’m hoping that that gives me some type of advantage going forward and I think it has thus far, but in terms of making the 53 as a fullback my main thing is special teams and doing anything I can to help the team.
“I’ve blocked from in space as a slot, I’ve blocked from inline as a Y, I’ve blocked from the backfield. I have experience in all three areas. I think I have a good feeling for angles. I think that’s what I specialize at. I’m 240. Some guys are bigger than me, some guys are my size, some guys are smaller. With each guy that you face you have to take different angles and approach each man differently and I think that is where I do have an advantage.”
In an article earlier Thursday detailing a couple of UDFAs with a chance to make the roster, Chris Pflum, our primary NFL Draft analyst, had this to say about Hall:
“Hall has several things going for him in his pursuit of a roster spot. Foremost, he has a relatively unique skillset among the Giants’ skill position players. He has a compact, powerful build and experience lining up as a tight end and fullback. He can effectively block from both alignments and give the Giants the ability to change looks on the fly, which is useful for an offense that wants to make use of motion and deception.
“Hall also has surprising ability as a receiver, particularly in catch-and-run situations. He isn’t a dynamic athlete, but he has soft, reliable hands, runs solid routes, and his 6-foot-1, 240 pound frame makes him hard to bring down in the open field. Hall finished his college career at Oklahoma with 12 receiving touchdowns and an average of 11.1 yards per catch. His build and experience allow him to be used in ways that pass coverages tend to overlook, and that could be exploited by Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka.”
Hall told Big Blue View that he feels like he landed in a good spot with the Giants.
“I feel like I’m in a great spot. I’m in the tight end room, I wanted to be in the tight end room when I came and be able to have the opportunity to play tight end, to play receiver, to play in the backfield and I’m just taking my role one step at a time,” Hall said. “Right now they have me mainly in the fullback spot, but I also know the tight end stuff, I know the receiver stuff, so I’m ready to do anything and be anywhere they put me.”
Hall, quite obviously, does not wanted to be labeled as “just a fullback” at the NFL level.
“I know what I’m capable of (as a receiver) and with every opportunity and with every opportunity I get out there on the field I want to show the coach that just because they label me as a fullback doesn’t mean I don’t have good hands,” Hall said. “I think I’ve gotten the point across that they know I have good hands and they know I have the ability.”