By Dylan MacKinnon
Running back is not the first position you think of when it comes to needs for the Eagles. But with Mile Sanders on the last year of his deal, and Jordan Howard a free agent, it may soon be one. And while it is unlikely the Eagles spend a first round pick on a RB, it is possible they spend a day 2 pick on one. With that said, let’s take a look at one of the best RBs coming out in this draft class. Breece Hall, out of Iowa State.
Everything a RB Needs to Be
The modern RB1 can’t just be a good runner. They need to block, and they need to be able to contribute in the passing game. One of the issues with Miles Sanders is that he has not always checked all 3 of those boxes. Though he did more so this last season. Hall however can fill all 3 requirements.
Need a RB who can rack up rushing yards and TDs? Well he excels there. He has over 3000 yards and 41 Tds the past two years. And while he has had some stellar O line play, he plays a big part in those numbers. Hall has exceptional shiftiness and regularly makes opposing defenders look silly. With Hall entering the NFL, it may be a good time to invest in any company that sells ankle tape, because people are going to need it. Just check out the type of moves he puts on would be tacklers.
Breece Hall… Wtf 😳— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 14, 2022
Look at the unblocked defenders here just miss, miss, miss lol just silly pic.twitter.com/87VRJd8Qfa
But its not just shiftiness that makes Hall appealing as a runner. He has pro level vision. If there is a hole, he is usually going to hit it. And when there is not one, he can fall back on his athleticism to make the most of what he is given. Behind a elite o line like the Eagles have, he would have a lot of fun. Hall can be both the short yardage guy, and the big play guy. A versatility that will allow him to stay on the field more often.
“His running style is willful when it needs to be, and he’s adept at moving the chains on “got to have it” short-yardage carries.” – Lance Zierlein from The NFL Network on Breece Hall
But as I already said, he is more than just a runner. While he is not Christian McCaffery catching the ball, he is still very dangerous as a pass catcher. He had 734 receiving yards on 82 catches with 6tds in three seasons at Iowa State. That is an average of almost 9 yards per catch. He is also an effective blocker.
His coaches have nothing but praise for him. Here is what Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell had to say about Hall.
“Breece is maybe one of the most gifted, true running backs that I’ve had the opportunity to be around. He’s got very similar qualities, as far as skills, to David Montgomery and Kareem Hunt.”
Areas of Concern
Hall has great size for a RB. The issue is it does not always translate to physicality. While he is great at making people miss, once he makes contact he sometimes struggles to break free. That is not to say he is soft and goes down at the slightest contact. But it is certainly an area he could be much better at.
His straight line speed also leaves a little to be desired. He is by no means slow, but he isn’t going to wow people with how fast he is. Despite that he still has a number of explosive plays, but don’t be surprised if he speed numbers at the combine are average. Hall is a well rounded RB good at many things. But other thank his ankle breaking moves, there are few areas he excels at.
Another concern is the workload he had at Iowa State. They gave him over 800 touches. That is a lot of hits he took. The human body can only handle so much wear and tear. There will be concern about longevity, and any team that takes him should scale back that usage to get the most out of him long term. It wont be an issue in the first couple years. But RBs break down faster than anyone, and the significant workload may eventually take its toll.
Maturing Into a Leader
Halls maturity and growth in his time at Iowa State is something you see many of his teammates and coaches praise. He is the type of guy always improving, always working to be better.
“To me, the word is consistency for Breece. What you’ve seen from Breece really from that West Virginia game his freshman year to every game he’s played, there’s a real sense of professionalism and consistency that he brings to how he attacks the sport. And that part has allowed our football team to really be able to use him in the most critical moments. You talk scoring, scoring, those are critical moments. And Breece has always been ready for the moment.”- Matt Campbell
And that praise continued even when he opted out of Iowa States bowl game this year to focus on preparing for the draft.
“Breece is such a unique football player. He is a young man that has done everything for the betterment of Iowa State Football from the day he’s been on our campus… Breece has been the ultimate leader in that RB room even since he decided the best thing for him was to not play in this game. That’s what I love about Breece, he’s one of those young men who has been such a integral part of the growth of our Football program.”- Matt Campbell on the Leadership of Breece Hall
Hall continued to take pride in his team, even when he wasn’t playing. He went from true freshman, to by his 3rd year leading the RB both by example and through actual leadership. Campbell credits him for setting the standard, and helping the future RBs at Iowa State being prepared to take the reigns.
What Draft Experts Say
Jordan Reid- ESPN
Iowa St. RB Breece Hall (6005, 215, Jr.) is a slow to and explode through runner that possesses good initial quickness in tight spaces. He thrives off of off-tackle runs where his vision shines. https://t.co/2vNatp5Vqu pic.twitter.com/7SYceUWHSs— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) June 3, 2021
Hall’s vision stands out as one of his defining traits. The Iowa RB is fairly consistent picking out lanes through which to explode. With this vision, he found space with an incredible consistency in 2020. Beyond the line, Hall owns exceptional full-field vision at the second level. With his combined vision and natural elusiveness, Hall can manipulate angles and methodically extend his runs.
Beyond that, Hall has a few more strengths. He owns a formidable stiff arm, and he has some measured contact balance, although he’s not elite there. Additionally, Hall is a decent blocker and has proven himself to be a competent receiver out of the backfield.
If the Eagles want to get another young RB they can have on a rookie deal for when and if Miles Sanders leaves, Hall is a good option. He is not perfect, but he does most things you need a RB to do well. With him, and also Gainwell, it would be another 3-4 years before the Eagles ever have to worry about RB, and they would keep the RB position cheap as well.
But it is not the biggest need yet. They have one more year with Sanders, which would make Hall a bit redundant in his rookie year. If in the second or third round there was a plus defender on the board, that may be the more immediately beneficial pick. But Hall is certainly worth considering if he is there in the 2nd, and would be hard to pass on if he fell all the way to the 3rd.
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