Not only has Hall been incredibly productive in college, scoring a combine 56 touchdowns in three seasons, he has a good skill set for the modern NFL.
Hall is one of those uncommon runners who combines a scat-back’s instincts for making something out of not-much with a bellcow’s ability to handle a heavy workload and grind out tough yardage. Running backs aren’t as important to NFL offenses as they once were, but having a good back who can do whatever is asked of him is still very useful.
Should the New York Giants take a look at Hall if they find themselves in need of a runner this year?
Prospect: Breece Hall (28)
Games Watched: vs. Iowa (2021), vs. Baylor (2021), vs. West Virginia (2021), vs. Texas (2021)
Games Played: 36
Yards (YPC): 3,941 (5.5 per carry)
Yards (YPC): 734 (9.0 per catch)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 56 (50 rushing, 6 receiving)
Games Played: 12
Yards (YPC): 1,472 (5.8 per carry)
Yards (YPC): 302 (8.4 per catch)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 23 (20 rushing, 3 receiving)
Best: Vision, contact balance, play strength, agility, burst
Worst: Pass protection, ball security
Projection: An important runner in a committee on a team that uses zone schemes
Iowa State running back Breece Hall has a good combination of size, athleticism, contact balance, and vision to succeed at the NFL level.
Hall is listed at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, which gives him near prototypical size for an NFL running back. He sports an athletic build that strikes a balance between power and agility. Hall has experience running from behind the quarterback in the “i” or pistol sets, as well as beside the quarterback in the shotgun set.
Hall has great patience behind the line of scrimmage, giving his linemen time to establish their blocks before pressing any running holes. He is also a very savvy runner behind the line, using slight fakes even before receiving the hand-off to sow confusion in defenders and alter their angles. He shows a good understanding of how to use hesitation and tempo to influence defenders and set up his blockers.
Hall has very good vision to pick out primary running lanes as well as cutback lanes. Likewise, he’s very good at anticipating where holes will open and where defenders will be at the second and third levels. He is a good, well-rounded athlete with good quickness, agility, and long speed. Hall has the foot speed to gain the edge on off-tackle runs, and is a consistent threat to score on breakaway runs. Hall is a surprisingly quick runner with good lateral agility. That not only allows him to make defenders miss in tight spaces, it also allows him to access cut-back lanes after he identifies them.
He also has great contact balance once he gets moving. Hall is very difficult for individual defenders to bring down quickly. He has a powerful lower body and does a good job of dropping his center of gravity in anticipation of contact. Likewise, Hall is unafraid to run behind his pads and grind out tough yards. He does a good job of weathering contact through the line of scrimmage, bouncing off shoulder checks, and regaining his feet to keep moving after hard hits.
Hall is a functional receiving option who consistently makes an effort to snatch the ball out of the air.
That said, Hall wasn’t heavily involved in Iowa State’s passing attack. He was only rarely motioned to a receiver position and ran a limited route tree. For the most part, Hall was only used as a check-down option for the Iowa State quarterback.
Hall’s pass protection is inconsistent as well. While he shows willingness as a blocker, his technique needs work and greater consistency. Hall doesn’t consistently attack pass rushers, instead waiting for them to come to him. He then usually tries to meet them with his shoulder, as opposed to using his hands to gain leverage and control them.
Hall also has a slight tendency to throttle down when the play moves away from him. He can be seen jogging in his routes when he knows he isn’t in the progression or standing around rather than looking for work as a blocker when the quarterback scrambles the other way.
Finally, ball security is a question with Hall. The ball hit the ground twice in the tape watched, and he has some tendency to carry the ball carelessly around traffic. Hall seldom runs with two hands on the ball, and it can drift away from his body when he runs. That creates opportunities for defenders to punch the ball out, which lead to a defensive touchdown against Iowa.
Overall Grade: 7.3
Breece Hall has the traits to project as an important runner for a team that uses spread concepts and a zone blocking scheme.
Whether he is named a “starter”, or is a high-volume rotational piece would really depend on the philosophy of the team that drafts him. However, Hall should be a productive runner early in his career, and he should be able to be on the field on any down or distance.
Playing in a zone blocking scheme would go a long way toward maximizing Hall’s skill set. He’s excellent at using his vision, agility, burst, and speed to pick out running lanes and cutback lanes. Zone schemes are designed to stress defensive fronts to create multiple options for runners, and that plays to Hall’s strengths. Likewise, spread concepts can force defenses to cover more of the field, making it that much harder for individual defenders to get into position to fill gaps.
While Hall doesn’t appear to be a truly “elite” athlete in any one area of his game, he has plenty of juice to be a big-play threat. His agility, play strength, vision, and contact balance make him a problem for individual defenders to bring down easily, and he has a good burst out of cuts. Hall is capable of turning a missed or broken tackle from a 3-yard gain to a 30-yard gain on any given play.
Hall isn’t a completely clean player, and teams will need to work with him in pass protection soonest. Hall has the build and play strength to be a good blocker – and his vision should help him identify blitzers easily. Greater comfort with his pass protection technique should allow him to block with the same aggression with which he runs. Teams will also want to coach Hall up on his ball security. In particular, it would be good to see him play with two hands on the ball as he goes through traffic and tuck the ball away more securely even when he isn’t expecting a hit.
It’s worth noting that while Hall is still young (he won’t turn 21 until May 31st) and is a true junior, he is a high-mileage back. Iowa State turned to him often in his three years there, particularly in 2020 and 2021. Hall has 800 total touches over the last 3 years, with 591 of them coming as a sophomore and junior.
It would be smart for a team to play Hall out of a rotation. That would allow them to manage his workload while keeping him fresh through the whole season. He has the build and skill set to be a “bellcow” back, but he’s already seen considerable usage in college.