P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State
6-0, 310 lbs
Vertical Jump: 38-inches
Bench Press: 36 reps
40-yard dash: 4.8 seconds
2017: 60 Tackles, 6 Sacks, 19 Tackles For Loss, 1 Forced Fumble
2016: 56 Tackles, 13 Sacks, 24.5 Tackles For Loss, 3 Forced Fumbles
2015: 75 Tackles, 11 Sacks, 19 Tackles For Loss, 1 Forced Fumble
2014: 93 Tackles, 12 Sacks, 24 Tackles For Loss, 4 Forced Fumbles
2016 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year
2016 First-Team All-Southland Conference
2016 Finalist for the Buck-Buchanan Award (nation’s top defensive player)
2015 FCS Second-Team All-American
2015 First-Team All-Southland Conference
2014 First-Team All-Southland Conference
2014 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year
There are very few players in the draft that matched Hall’s level of production as he recorded a ridiculous 86.5 tackles for loss and 42 sacks as a four-year starter for the Bearkats. He played defensive end for three of those seasons, transitioning to a 3-tech defensive tackle as a senior.
Raiders took NT P.J. Hall with the 25th pick in Round 2. He wasn't invited to the combine but he put on a show at his pro day. As I predicted, he was first non-combine player drafted. Has some Aaron Donald qualities. https://t.co/CmVcQT0UGF— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 28, 2018
While he’s just 6-0, 310 lbs, Hall showed the ability to effectively take on triple teams. He fires off the ball like he was shot out of cannon using his quickness and explosiveness to wreak havoc in the backfield. Hall also blocked 14 kicks in college showing his effort and desire to make plays.
At his pro day, Hall posted a 38-inch vertical jump along with a 4.8 40 yard dash and 36 reps on the bench press. Those are absurd numbers for a defensive tackle and highlight his athleticism.
The primary question evaluators ask when watching Hall is whether or not he can continue his level of production when facing NFL offensive lineman. While Sam Houston State is division one, he rarely faced NFL-quality competition.
Hall also gained weight this past season when transitioning to defensive tackle, and he lost some of his quickness as a result. That explosiveness is his main calling card, so the jury is out as to whether he can maintain his speed at an increased weight.
P.J. Hall is the next in line of a long list of undersized defensive tackles that specialize in rushing the quarterback. Players such as Grady Jarrett and Sheldon Rankins have had success in the NFL despite their size due to their quickness off the snap.
If Hall can maintain his speed at 310 lbs, he has a chance to be an immediate contributor at the next level as a pass rushing 3-tech in a 4-3 defensive scheme.
Fit with Raiders
When questioned whether the Raiders over-drafted Hall, head coach Jon Gruden exclaimed “Believe me, we weren’t the only team that wanted P.J. Hall.”
The Silver & Black have long needed an interior pass rush to go along complement Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. They added both Hall and Michigan’s Maurice Hurst in the 2018 NFL Draft to solve this problem.
Both players have a similar skill set as they are undersized, yet impactful due to their quickness to penetrate the backfield. Hall and Hurst should see plenty of playing time in 2018, and should significantly improve the Raiders pass rush as that is where both prospects specialize.