Raiders Believe They Drafted A Game Changer In Small-School DT P.J. Hall

The scouting and draft communities haven’t been doing cartwheels over the Raiders P.J. Hall selection, but don’t let anyone tell you he’s not the draft pick Jon Gruden and company aren’t privately the most bullish about.

The Raiders love their second-round pick from Sam Houston State, where his teammates affectionately nicknamed him P.J.J. Watt because of the havoc he wreaked on opposing offensive lines.

Hall said he was surprised to be drafted in the second round, but he maybe shouldn’t have been.

Gil Brandt, one of the league’s most respected talent evaluators, predicted Hall would be the first player “non-combine invite” to be taken in the draft – which ended up happening.

Brandt said in March that Hall had drawn comparisons to All Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who also had skeptics out of college because of his size.

Also prior to the draft, an NFL Network feature from Mike Garafolo detailed many of the reasons Hall might climb into the second round of the draft:

Hall is really good at a lot of things, and that’s why he’s climbed his way from a projected late-round pick to a player who might hear his name called on Day 2 of the 2018 NFL draft. He was a constant disruption in the backfield for opposing offenses (finishing with a school-record 86.5 tackles for loss in his four-year career), and his pro-day workout last month (he ran the 40-yard dash in around 4.7 seconds and posted an astounding 38-inch vertical jump) confirmed he’s as athletic as he looks on tape.

Another blurb on Hall came from draft analyst Tony Pauline, who said in March that those who were in attendance at Hall’s pro day were blown away by his skill set:

“I spoke with several people who are still buzzing about the workout of Sam Houston State defensive tackle P.J. Hall… I’ve spoken with some over the past 24 hours who believe Hall had one of the best pro-day workouts of any non-combine defensive line prospect from the past 10 years.”

Coming from a small school and lacking prototypical size, no one wanted to label Hall a top prospect, but the Raiders (who also rolled the dice on Michigan DT Maurice Hurst) believe they drafted the top two interior rushers in the draft.

Ironically, the prevailing criticism of both Hall and Hurst is their size – specifically height and arm length (or lack thereof). But, for what it’s worth, Hall (32 1/8) and Hurst (32) have arms very similar to Aaron Donald (32 5/8).

As defensive tackle comparisons (or criticisms in this case) go, that isn’t bad company to keep.

twitter: @raidersbeat


6 thoughts on “Raiders Believe They Drafted A Game Changer In Small-School DT P.J. Hall

  1. Everyone talking **** about this draft right now but 3-4 years from now everyone is gonna be trying to sign these guys away. Raiders won’t be able to afford this D line really soon.

  2. Just goes to show the bias against the Raiders in the NFL community . People were secretly ( some not so secretly) coveting these guys but were hoping to either get them as undrafted free agents or late round steals and writers like them because they saw them ending up someplace other than Oakland . Now all of a sudden they’re too short or the level of competition wasn’t quality or whatever . I dare to say that if New England had drafted these guys in the same spots Oakland took them everyone would be praising them.

  3. I have said all along that this draft of the Raiders is exactly what the draft board looked like going into the draft. It addresses the need at areas the Raiders were lacking and added quality players. Everyone believes Arizona got over on Oakland but we got who we wanted and were able to also get a player all 32 teams would have loved to get in Martavis Bryant. Hall may not be tall but he is is still a beast and I am proud to be part of Raider Nation. How do you block a man that squats the equivalent to 2 offensive lineman? Just saying

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