From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
PJ Hall / Sam Houston DL – 6’1 310 lbs.
–Athletic for a man his size
–Outstanding college production
–Explosion in a compact case.
–Holds his own against double teams.
–Quick off the snap and shoots his hands up to keep blockers away from his body.
–Blood-thirsty when pursuing the quarterback for a sack.
–Lines up up and down the line with two, three, and four point stances
–Suspended first two games senior year due to academic issues.
–Small aka short, light, and compact for a defensive lineman.
–Questionable competition with North Dakota State being the best team Sam Houston faced.
–Doesn’t give consistent effort throughout game.
–His athleticism has diminished the more he weighs.
–Decent bullrush, will need more refined pass rushing moves against the bigger, more athletic NFL linemen.
–First team all-district defensive end and running back as a high school senior
–Two-time 1st team Associated Press FCS All-American.
–Finalist for Buck Buchanan Award (nation’s top defensive player award).
–Played in 56 games with 160 solo tackles and 124 assists, sacked opposing quarterbacks 42 times for 235 yards lost, forced 9 fumbles, recovered 1 fumble, picked off 4 passes, and blocked an outstanding 14 kicks.
–He is 2nd all-time in the history of the FCS’ 40 year history with those 14 blocked kicks.
–Redshirted in 2013 season
On a third and long, the Bearkat lines up almost like a sprinter coming off his blocks on the edge. He screams across the line of scrimmage at the snap jetting his hands out which keep the tackle from adequately blocking him. While Hall gets pressure, it takes him a long time to get there which allows the quarterback to complete the pass downfield. If the defender had shortened his pursuit angle, the outcome might have been much different.
Hall lines up on the outside shoulder of the right tackle. At the snap, #92 hesitates for a split second; this allows him to slip underneath the offensive lineman’s block and chase the runner down the line for no gain. I was quite impressed with the Bearkat’s vision and play recognition on this play.
Big #92 lines up in the gap between the center and the left guard. He comes off low at the snap and gets picked up by the center who also receives some help from the left guard. Hall does his best to keep the center off his body, but initial penetration is stopped so the assisting guard moves towards an outside rusher. The right guard steps up to secure Hall isn’t going anywhere. A defensive lineman that can occupy two linemen despite not getting pressure is still doing his job as a blitzing backer might slip through because of the effort.
On a second and 4 late in the 2nd quarter, Hall lines head up on the right guard. He is slow off the snap getting out of his stance; this allows the blocker to knock the Bearkat to his knees. With the DT out of position, a path is cleared for the North Dakota back to gain the first down. #92 appears winded and is clearly not giving his best effort.
PJ Hall has a lot of good college production against not so stellar competition. The bigger he has made himself, the slower #92 has become (look at the difference between 2016 and 2017 games). The Bearkat standout has limited pass rush moves and appears that he will struggle with bigger, more athletic NFL o-linemen. I would consider him a Steelers target in the sixth round, but am wary of investing in Hall sooner than that.
Projection: Fourth to sixth rounder
Games Watched: @North Dakota State, @Incarnate Word (2016)