Jaguars draft pick Erick Hallett sent team’s phone calls to voicemail
Erick Hallett’s dream of making the NFL was realized on Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected the former Pittsburgh defensive back in the sixth round, No. 208 overall.
However, it was almost all for naught.
Jaguars coach Doug Pederson and general manager Trent Baalke revealed Saturday that their phone calls to Hallett were going straight to voicemail. Baalke said, however, once they reached Hallett, “he was fired up.”
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Wide receiver Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, #2 of the UCLA Bruins, catches a pass against defensive back Erick Hallett, #31 of the Pittsburgh Panthers, during the first half of the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl game at Sun Bowl Stadium on Dec. 30, 2022 in El Paso, Texas. (Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
“Everybody reacts differently. Some guys are just emotional,” Pederson added. “They’re overwhelmed. They hear their name called on the big screen. And at the same time they’re excited to know where they’re going to be and go to work.
“All of them, as Trent alluded to, all these guys are high-character guys. They’re going to be great fits on our roster right now. And they’re just excited to get in and go to work.”
Hallett told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his mom, Nia, eventually got him to answer the phone.
“She answered the call, looked at me and asked, ‘Why aren’t you answering your phone?’” Hallett told the paper on Monday. “I had no idea it was ringing.”
Pittsburgh defensive back Erick Hallett, #31, reacts after a tackle during the NCAA football game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Oct. 2, 2021 at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Nia Hallett added, “I don’t even remember it, that’s the sad part. It’s just all a blur. I just wanted to get him the phone as quickly as possible.”
Hallett played four seasons at Pittsburgh before turning pro. In 2022, he had 54 total tackles and three interceptions in 13 games.
Baalke said Saturday that Hallett’s versatility on defense was a big reason why they chose him.
“He’s played some safety. He’s played some nickel. And, again, once we draft them and they get in here I think our coaches are looking at them in that same capacity. Where does he best fit? Is he competing for the nickel spot. Big nickel spot? You know, potentially the safety,” he said.
Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Erick Hallett, #31, looks on during the college football game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Pittsburgh Panthers on Sept. 1, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. (Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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“The versatility of the player was something that was very attractive to us at that point in time in the draft.”
Ryan Gaydos is a senior editor for Fox News Digital.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.