By David Boclair
Undrafted does not mean unwanted. Not in the case of Centennial High School’s Emanuel Hall, at least.
NFL teams completely ignored the speedy wide receiver who spent the past four years at Missouri during the four rounds of the 2019 draft. It was a stunning development for a player many analysts believed would be selected on the second day (Rounds 2-3).
Soon after, though, he had heard from roughly two-thirds of the league’s 32-franchises, all of which wanted to sign him as an undrafted free agent.
He settled on the Chicago Bears.
That too was an odd decision on its surface in that the Bears’ top three receivers and roughly 90 percent of their receptions and receiving yards return from 2018. Hall looked deeper than the roster, though, to the coaching staff, particularly receivers coach Mike Furrey.
“There were 20-plus offers, but the Bears stood out to me,” Hall said during Chicago’s rookie mini-camp late last week. “Coach Mike Furrey stood out to me. This is a great program.”
No one questions Hall’s speed (he ran the 40 in 4.39 seconds) or his size (he is 6-foot-3, 195 pounds) in judging his NFL prospects. Injury issues that limited him to an average of eight games per year in college and caused him to miss the 2019 Senior Bowl seemingly created concern among teams when it came time to pick.
In all 28 wide receivers were selected during the three-day draft, which set attendance records in Nashville. That is almost one per team.
Then Hall was the one guy nearly every team wanted.
“I promise you it’s a feeling that I’ll never forget,” Hall said of not being chosen, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That was one of the worst feelings ever, being undrafted. It felt like the longest three days of my life. I had a draft party on the second day and the third day you’re just shaking everybody’s hand, ‘Thanks for coming.’ — no one wants to do that.
“It’s a motivational thing for anybody that goes through that. But it is what it is. I know what I can do. I definitely have a lot to prove and I have a huge chip on my shoulder.”