The 2023 NFL Draft might not have the star power of some previous drafts, but it’s still a very deep one at a number positions.
In particular, the edge defender position has some of the best players in the draft and has starting caliber players far down the depth chart. It’s commonly held that if a team wants an impact pass rusher, they need to take one in the first round. This year, however, the sheer depth could make for some great values after the first day of the draft.
Auburn EDGE Derick Hall could be one of those value picks. He hasn’t been getting nearly as much buzz as some of the more highly regarded pass rushers in the class, but he has the potential to be a good player for a number of defenses.
The New York Giants need to add depth to all levels of their defense, and finding a starting caliber EDGE could be an under-the-radar priority.
Prospect: Derick Hall (29)
Games Watched: vs. Alabama (2021), vs. Penn State (2022), vs. Mizzou (2022), vs. Ole Miss (2022)
Games Played: 40
Tackles for a loss: 29.5
Forced fumbles: 5
Games Played: 12
Tackles for a loss: 11.5
Forced fumbles: 2
Best: Athleticism, length, leverage, play strength, competitive toughness
Worst: Agility, coverage
Projection: A starting edge defender in a multiple defense.
(Hall is Auburn EDGE number 29)
Derick Hall is a powerful and explosive edge rusher from Auburn University.
Hall has a good combination of power, natural leverage, and length at 6-foot 2 ¾ inches, 254 pounds, and with 34 ½ inch arms. He is also an explosive athlete, with a great first step, very good long speed for the position, and solid bend around the edge.
Hall is a versatile rusher who is moved around Auburn’s defensive formation. He rushed from both the left and right edges, as well as from an inside linebacker position over the A or B gaps. He’s also able to rush effectively from a 3-point stance as well as a 2-point stance, and was even asked to drop into coverage on occasion.
He has a very explosive first step and does a good job of keying the snap. He is seldom late off the ball and is able to win with speed off the edge. Hall has good hand usage as a pass rusher and does a good job of playing to his strengths. He primarily uses long-arm, rip, and speed-to-power moves to beat blockers with his athleticism, leverage and power. Hall has a solid understanding of how to rush with a plan, and is quick to use counter-moves when blockers are expecting one of his primary moves. Hall also understands how to use half-man leverage. He can be very effective when combining an initial power move with a rip move to attack (and overpower) one side of a tackle before using his leverage to slip under the black and into the backfield.
Hall’s play strength shows up in his run defense as well. He is very good at setting a firm edge against opposing tackles and either forcing runners to the sideline or back inside to his teammates. He is also able to shed blocks and make plays off the lineman or get into pursuit. Hall’s long speed makes him a good pursuit player. He gives great effort in pursuit and can run down most running backs and quarterbacks from behind.
While Hall is capable of dropping into coverage, he shouldn’t be asked to do so often. He lacks great agility and doesn’t have the hip fluidity to stay with offensive players in space. His lack of agility and some slight tightness in his ankles can show up as a pass rusher as well, Hall is able to bend a fairly tight edge, but he can struggle if he has to make a tight corner or move quickly in a phonebooth. His lack of agility can also make it tough for him to take the most efficient angle for good form tackles.
Overall Grade: 7.3
Auburn EDGE Derick Hall projects as a designated pass rusher to start his career, with the upside to win a starting job early in his rookie contract.
Hall has a great blend of size, leverage, length, athleticism, and competitive toughness for the NFL. He also has the versatility to play in pretty much any defensive system commonly used in the modern NFL. Hall can rush from a 2 or 3-point stance, as well as play as an edge rusher or blitzing linebacker. He wasn’t asked to reduce inside and rush as a defensive tackle in the tape viewed, but his natural leverage (ie: his 6-foot 2-inch height), play strength, and explosive first step should make that a possibility.
He has a few limitations and probably shouldn’t be asked to regularly drop into coverage, or play from a tight alignment that forces him to take sharp angles into the backfield.
That said, he is a very good athlete apart from some slight lower-body stiffness. As mentioned before, Hall is explosive off of the snap, has very good long speed, and is agile enough to take inside routes to the quarterback. He gives great effort in pursuit and plays with a high motor all game long. He didn’t have as much production as his traits would suggest, but he might blossom on an NFL defense.
The sheer depth of this year’s EDGE class could force Hall down draft boards a bit, but that could make him a strong value on the second day.