From now until the 2019 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.
# 22 Darrin Hall/RB Pittsburgh – 5’11” 225 lbs
- Lightning quick feet allow Hall to mess with defenders angles and make cuts if necessary
- Great receiver who can run a myriad of routes
- Decisive runner with great vision
- Runs with ferocious physicality and will go through defenders if he needs to
- Has tremendous leg churn and battles for extra yards
- Runs with patience and presses the line extremely well
- Showcases significant burst that allows him to get around the edge
- Solid contact balance due to strong, low center of gravity
- Long speed is a serious question, doesn’t break away easily
- Shaky pass protector due to suspect anchor
- Isn’t elusive or slippery in the open field
- Runs upright and is prone to being injured and fumbling from that
- Tight in the hips and fails to have an expansive pool of moves
- Big plays in the NFL will be seldom to come by due to athletic limitations
- 2018: 153 attempts, 1144 yards, 10 TD, 15 receptions, 66 yards
- Career: 381 attempts, 2189 yards, 21 TD, 38 receptions, 267 yards, 1 TD
- Two time All-ACC Academic Team
- Third Team All-ACC
- Walter Camp Player of the Week (2x)
A local product, Darrin Hall will have roots in Pittsburgh right away if he does indeed come to Pittsburgh, but there has to be something to his game to appealing, and Hall brings that with him. His tenacity as a runner and more so, his ability to see the field so clearly allows him to overcome athletic deficiencies that come to the table in the form of tight hips and marginal long speed at best.
That is not what Hall’s game is based off of either, though. Instead it is based off quick feet and short area burst, which allow him to still chunk yardage and get a little slippery in the open field. It is nothing overwhelming, but when the guy is not an athlete, he better be a football player, and Hall is that and more. And when I dove into his tape, it was a blast to watch because he was just so solid fundamentally and ran with a passion that it screamed right off the tape.
Of course, there are still technical weaknesses to Hall’s game, and one of those key ones is in fact pass protection. It is not a matter of effort, because Hall is a blue collar tough guy and will go into the thick of any situation with a fierce tenacity, but he is not a good pass blocker but a few reasons. It boils down to the fact that on many occasions he doesn’t process twists or even process where the blitzing LB might be. However, if that weren’t enough, even though he clearly has a strong lower body, his technique of being so upright and thus losing leverage is what is going to absolutely destroy him in situations like this, and Bobby Okereke ran him right on over.
He needs to play lower and with a flat back as he meets with the LB or any rusher coming through that he is responsible for. It can translate to fix his upright running too, which does leave him susceptible to unnecessarily big hits.
Still, he has a ton to like about his game, much like this run which shows off a dynamic skill set. It is a wide zone from the shotgun, so naturally, Hall is supposed to be taking this through the C gap if he gets the chance, but he horizontally takes his footwork on a literal straight angle, and thus, causes the LBs and DL to start angling towards the sideline. That, in and of itself, is a great skill to have. He is pressing the line horizontally and opens up even more green for himself.
He shows off efficient footwork in a one step cut on a dime and then accelerates right up the middle and into the hole. That foot speed will make up for athletic deficiencies for sure. It is obviously great peripheral vision as well. As he goes down the field, it is clear that Hall doesn’t have that speed, but his ability to just shed off tacklers because of his physical running style and strong legs and thus contact balance, are why Hall is going to be appealing to an NFL team.
We all love a little bit of power, both in the play call and in Hall’s case. Hall knows he is working off of this pulling backside guard and slows up his footwork as he waits for him to get his man, and then, it is a simple step, cut, and hit the hole at full speed. That is working off your blockers at its finest level.
The real takeaway, however, is just how he runs once he makes contact. That leg churn and physicality don’t come with every running back, but in a council as a switch up RB option, Hall’s physicality is going to be as welcomed as any other part of his skillset.
In order to be a truly great council RB, you need to have the hands to accompany your running style, and Darrin Hall has those hands. He knows how to make adjustments on the football and even more so, knows how run a ton of routes. Pitt loved sending him out on wheel routes whenever they could, and he was dang good at running them.
With that versatility and ability in mind, Hall should be able to flex out into the slot and be a great receiving back at the next level because of his attention to detail in space when catching the ball.
Lastly, if do not have that long speed, do you at least have some burst to get around the edge and thus accelerate through holes too? Hall has that burst, because as he scans the LB flow, he sees the B gap open up and hits the hole like a freight train. His burst not only allows him to chunk up yardage easily, but also to really hit these holes as fast as he can and get through them once he sees them.
Darrin Hall has a lot of limitations to his game, and most of them stem from his athleticism and flexibility, but his prowess as a pure football and hard-nosed running style will allow him to survive in the NFL in a council type rotation. As a team looking for a 3rd RB, the Steelers will likely be in on the Hall sweepstakes as he has just about every single attribute but the pass protection aspect of his game. Hall, thus, is great on Late Day 3.
Projection: Late Day 3
Games Watched: vs Stanford, vs Clemson, vs Virginia Tech, vs North Carolina, vs Virginia