clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Good idea for Raiders to put P.J. Hall at nose tackle

New, comments

P.J. Hall is a better draft pick than most believe but nose tackle is the best place for him to get a chance to show it.

NFL: Oakland Raiders Rookie Minicamp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of criticism came the Oakland Raiders’ way for picking defensive tackle P.J. Hall in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He had great production in college but the scouting world didn’t like the fact that it came against FCS competition. Even though he showed in the East-West Shrine Game that he could hold his own anyone in college football.

Hall is known for his pass rush, but in the Shrine game he showed he is also great against the run. He did well anchoring against double-teams and didn’t get moved back. He was also able to split a few double-teams with his tremendous get-off. That get-off along with his burst and pass-rushing moves has helped him against the pass as he could have had a couple sacks but settled for a few pressures in the game.

At his pro day, he showed he has what it takes physically to be a great defensive lineman. Hall measured out at 6’1”, weighed in at 308 pounds and ran a 4.7 40. He showed his explosion and strength with a 38-inch vertical leap and 36 reps of 225. If he didn’t hit the rack on No. 36, he could have had more. Hall has also squatted 750 pounds while pausing at the bottom and asking his coach if he’s ready for him to come up.

To go with his FCS record 42.0 career sacks production, Hall also has a lot of tackles for losses (86.5) and blocked kicks on special teams (14).

His size, leverage, strength, power and explosion are why he will live in opponents’ backfields in the NFL. That makes him a great candidate to play shade-nose (1-technique), offering pass-rushing to go with run-stuffing.

Now, it looks like the Raiders may have the idea that he’s a shade-nose as that’s where he has played in OTAs so far.

According to our own Levi Damien, with all of the rotations that were there, Hall was never in the same group as starting nose tackle Justin Ellis. He was either with 2017 7th-round pick Treyvon Hester, who’s a 3-technique, or 2018 5th-round pick Maurice Hurst, who’s the house’s favorite to start there as he is already getting a lot of 1st-team reps at the position now.

Gruden has expressed his belief to the media that the Raiders got the two best interior rushers in the draft. But he didn’t mention the part about how great they are against the run too. Hurst had the No. 1 grade against the run and pass at his position this year in college football according to Pro Football Focus. Both Hurst and Hall are good at making tackles in the backfield against the run.

With Hurst looking likely to start at the 3-technique, moving Hall to shade-nose to get him on the field more is a great idea. Justin Ellis was pretty good last year but Hall is a phenom. So we’ll have to keep an eye on the 1-technique position from here, to training camp, to the season.