One of the more interesting prospects that the Raiders have signed as an undrafted free agent is Northwestern's Jimmy Hall. The reason he is so interesting of a prospect is because his athletic measurables are phenomonal. However, the reason he went undrafted is because he is a tweener that doesn't fit exactly to the mold of either Safety or Linebacker in the NFL.
Jimmy played as a Safety for the first 3 years at Northwestern before switching to OLB for his senior year which resulted in the best year of his college career. He finished the season with 58 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and 5.5 tackles for loss as a senior when he had a total of 44 tackles and 1 interception in the other 3 years combined as a Safety.
Even though he did have his best year as a linebacker, it appears he will be lining up in the secondary for the Raiders if he makes the team. He has the athleticism needed to play the Safety position in the NFL for sure, but he needs to hone his skills more to be productive at the position in the NFL.
Speaking of his athleticism though, it is very impressive and why the Raiders signed him as an undrafted free agent. He ran a 4.44 40 yard dash so he definitely has the speed to play Safety, but he combined that with 24 bench presses too showing the strength of a linebacker. This man can jump too, producing a 39.5 inch vertical and a 10.10" broad jump.
When you look at those stats alone it is pretty surprising that he wasn't able to get drafted. It really does come down to his tweener status between the two different positions though. He doesn't quite fit in either position as of now. He is built more like a Safety at 6'1 228lbs, but he definitely played more comfortably as a linebacker. Unfortunately, NFL eats up smaller linebackers because the players are just so much larger on a day to day basis than the competition in college.
The trick for Jimmy Hall finding success in the NFL is for him to be able to play Safety. The Raiders are giving him his chance to prove that he can. He could end up being a secret weapon because of his ability to play some linebacker in a pinch too but he will need to be able to play in the secondary first and foremost.
Our own Levi Damien has him listed as missing the team at the Safety position in his early prediction on the 53 man roster but there is a long way to go before that. Hall is going to be behind the curve and facing an uphill battle, but he does still have a chance because he was born with the natural athleticism coveted by NFL teams. Oakland needs to solidify their safety position for the future, it is worth taking a shot on a project with this type of athleticism even if Hall is a long shot to make the team.