Raiders fifth round pick Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and third round pick defensive end Arden Key are often discussed as potential steals from the 2018 NFL Draft. But what of second round defensive tackle P.J. Hall, a late riser after a spectacular Pro Day late in the draft season.
The 6-0, 310 pounder had mind-blowing production for four years with 86.5 tackles for loss, 42 sacks and an amazing 14 blocked kicks.
Strength-wise, he benched pressed 225 36 times before hitting the rack to ruin what could have been 40. Then there’s Hall squatting 750 pounds as if all he had was one 45-pound plate on each side of the bar.
Hall showed great speed for his size running a 4.73 40 that one scout had at 4.67 (probably a Raiders scout lol). He also posted 38-inch vertical leap which explains why he’s so explosive off the ball. This is a scary combination of power and athleticism.
”He’s a special talent. So quick, dynamic, physical and strong,” Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler said per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. “I’ve seen him squat 750 with a pause and a smile on his face. Go down, squat, ‘You want me to come up yet? OK, I’ll come up now.’ He does things you don’t ever imagine you’re going to see.”
On tape, he’s technically sound, coming off the ball fast and low to make plays in opposing teams’ backfields. Staying low also gives him the leverage to anchor against double-teams. Hall also has quick hands he uses well when rushing the passer and in the running game.
So what’s not to like?
Oh, he went to Sam Houston State, an FCS school that didn’t have top college competition on their schedule. I thought he answered all questions about his competition in the East-West Shrine Game, dominating the portion he was in against the offensive line prospects.
We will really see who and what Hall is in training camp, when he faces guard Gabe Jackson and center Rodney Hudson. They are both among the best at their respective positions when healthy. Jackson played with an ankle injury in 2017 but now that he’s healthy, he and Hudson will be a great test to see if what kind of impact Hall can make.
As a shade nose tackle, lined up between them, Hall will see plenty of both of them. He’ll see Hudson one-on-one when the Raiders use the guard to double Mack if he’s in camp. Then on passing downs, he’ll be lined up outside of Jackson and see him one on one if Hudson doubles Hurst on the other side. If he makes the offense pay for sending double-teams elsewhere and-or force them to double him, this will be great for the defense. But of course, that won’t be easy, which is be good for him as I always say; ‘iron sharpens iron.’
Right now, it looks like the Raiders will pair him with Hurst to rush from the interior on passing downs. But if Hall can anchor against Jackson and Hudson’s double-teams in the run game, Hall could put himself in play to be the full-time 1-technique.