OK, we'll be the first to admit it. When we met Max Hall at the NFL Combine in February, we would not have predicted he would be starting under center for the Arizona Cardinals just five weeks into his young NFL career.
The BYU product impressed scouts at the Combine, but nonetheless, he lacked those "physical intangibles" that are so highly desired among upper echelon QBs: he measures a hair under 6'1" and, hence, "does not possess the arm strength to make all the NFL throws," as one scout opined.
Ranked 19th among draft-eligible quarterback, Hall signed with the Cards as an undrafted free agent. He has now joined the St. Louis Rams' Sam Bradford and the Carolina Panthers' Jimmy Clausen as the only rookie starting QBs in the NFL.
And if you didn't hear, he also led the Cards to a 30-20 upset win over Drew Brees and the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Hall has been praised by his Cardinal teammates for his intelligence (he was the highest-scoring QB in the Wunderlic test) and leadership qualities. The coaching staff loves his work ethic and desire to improve with each passing day. Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt says, "A couple of times, when we made mistakes, he came off the field saying, 'Why wasn't this guy here?' and to me that shows a guy who's dialed in."
Reflecting on our time spent with Max at the Combine, it was easy to understand why a QB ranked 19th earned such a big opportunity so soon. He was one of only a handful of quarterbacks to participate in passing drills and who threw for scouts at Combine. Also, he was proactive in seeking out interviews with coaching staffs.
"I talked to almost all of the teams," he told us. "For me, it was talking to the quarterback coaches and getting to know them. They draw up plays, draw up defenses and test your knowledge of the game.
"Hopefully, they learned that I'm smart, that I have a passion for the game of football, and that I'm capable of leading a team."
The Cards, Saints and many others have already learned first-hand that he's capable. And you can learn from Max's experience, too. Check out this video from our sit-down with Max at the Combine in Indianapolis to learn how he took maximum advantage of every opportunity to make it to where he is today.
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