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.”
“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.”
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.
“The versatility of the player was something that was very attractive to us at that point in time in the draft.”