The drafting of P.J. Hall out of small school Sam Houston St. in the 2nd round was one of the most surprising picks for the Oakland Raiders in the 2018 NFL draft. Despite his record breaking stat of 86.5 tackles for losses and having 42.0 sacks as an interior lineman, Hall was originally projected as a mid to late round pick. His original draft projections were due to his having faced lesser competition in the Southland Conference of the FCS.
Hall’s combine workouts sent his draft stock skyrocketing though, and Oakland felt that if they were going to have a chance at him they needed to act when they did at 57 overall in the 2nd round. There is a lot of added pressure on a player when they go higher than anticipated. Being reached for in the draft can be detrimental to some prospects.
Hall is eager to show that it wasn’t a mistake being drafted so early. He knows it’s harder coming out of a smaller school with less recognition and he is ready to put in the work to prove himself.
“Especially coming out of a small school, we don’t get that much recognition,” Hall said in an interview on the Raiders website. “I just want to prove that I belong here. It wasn’t a mistake me getting drafted, especially not as high as I did. I’m just ready to get here and work.
“Being able to work with people that are great athletes, I know they are going to push me, I’m going to push them to work harder. Just trying to make sure we kind of free them guys up. Make sure we can get as many one on one’s as possible so they’re not just getting double teamed all day. That’s very important to have a productive rush.”
This pick may seem like a reach now, but Hall will be given the opportunity to distinguish himself by saying and doing the right things to prove he was worth the high draft pick.
While we wait to see what this young man can do on the field, take a listen here to his college coach K.C. Keeler raving about him.