From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Auburn EDGE Derick Hall
#29 Derick Hall, EDGE, Auburn (Senior) – 6030, 256lb
Senior Bowl Invite
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Derick Hall||6’3, 256lb||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has the size, length, and frame you look for at OLB
— Good athlete that plays with notable burst and power
— Has the play strength to shed blocks and convert speed to power as a pass rusher
— Physical tackler who brings the ballcarrier to the ground
— Has the frame to set the edge and take on blocks by pulling guards
— Does a good job playing with pad level and leverage to set the edge
— Fluid athlete that can work laterally as well as drop in coverage
— Long arms aid in ability to work off blocks as well as occupy passing lanes
— Plays with relentless effort rushing the passer or pursuing the football
— Closes ground quickly when rushing the passer with good acceleration
— Nuanced pass rusher that has several moves to win against pass blockers
— Wins with speed-to-power, long arming blockers into the lap of the QB
— Does a good job bending around the edge, chopping the OL’s arms down as he rips around the corner into the pocket
— Can counter back inside with strength or a two-hand swipe if OL overcommit to the edge
— Comfortable playing on his feet and with his hand in the dirt
— Has rushed from either side of the LOS as well as up the middle
— Has athletic build, but could stand to add more weight to consistently hold up against the run
— Can struggle to get off blocks when first move fails, needing a more consistent counter
— Can be neutralized as a run blocker, taking time to stack and shed blocks
— Hand usage can improve as a pass rusher as well as in run defense
— Senior Prospect from Gulfport, Miss.
— Born March 19, 2001 (age 21)
— Four-star recruit that played in the Under Armour All-American Game
— Also, a basketball starter and a state finalist at 200 meters in track in high school
— Enrolled early to Auburn to participate in spring ball in 2019
— Saw action in seven games as a true freshman, logging 13 total tackles (nine solo) and 1.5 TFLs
— Played and started eight games in 2020 at OLB, logging 21 tackles (16 solo), four TFLs, and four sacks along with a forced fumble
— Started 13 games in 2021, logging 52 total stops (33 solo), 12.5 TFLs, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles
— Started 12 games in 2022, notching 60 stops (41 solo), 11.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, an INT, a fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles
— Game captain on two occasions as a junior, voted team captain as a senior
— Business major
— First Team All-SEC (2022), Auburn Defensive Player of the Year (2022) , Second Team All-SEC (2021)
EDGE Derick Hall popped on tape last season as a junior, making a name for himself in the SEC after posting a nine-sack campaign in 2021. He saw his sack numbers drop in 2022, but his impact on the field did not. Hall is an athletic, powerful pass rusher that looks the part coming off the bus, having the size, length, and explosiveness to be a handful for opposing OL. He possesses long arms that aid in his ability to back pass blockers backward as well as to defeat blocks in pursuit of the QB. Watch this rep from last season where Hall sheds #73 Evan Neal getting around the corner and brings down #9 Bryce Young from behind for the sack.
Hall’s game is predicated on his power rush, using his strength to knock back blockers at the LOS. Watch these clips of Hall converting speed to power as a rusher, jolting the OL backward as he rushes the passer.
Derick Hall isn’t just a one-trick pony though when it comes to rushing the passer. He has some bend to get around the corner as well as the closing speed and burst to finish in the backfield at the QB. Watch these two plays against Mississippi State Where Hall turns the corner dipping and ripping around the LT’s outside shoulder into the pocket to take the QB down for the sack on the first clip and strip the ball out on the second.
Derick Hall had himself quite the game against the Bulldogs this season, posting eight tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. His second sack of the game came on this inside counter where he gets the LT to commit outside, getting him to open his inside shoulder to the inside counter. The tackle respects Hall’s speed after beating him around the corner earlier in the game, setting up the counter inside for Hall to get to the QB a second time.
While a proven pass rusher, Derick Hall is also a stout run defender. He has the play strength to set the edge, using leverage and pad level to hold his own at the point of attack. Watch Hall wrong arm the block against Georgia in this clip, taking the block head-on, forcing the runner outside where the rest of the defense swarms to the ball.
Hall also has the skill set to take on blocks at the LOS and make plays against the run himself. He has the upper body strength and length to stack and shed blocks like we see against potential future first-round pick Olu Fashanu, extending his left arm and proceeds to rip off the block and take the QB down in the backfield for a loss on the draw.
One thing that continually sticks out about Hall from watching his tape is his non-stop motor. He plays with high effort on every single play, whether it be rushing the passer or chasing the ball. Watch this effort play by Hall where he is initially blocked but continues to work as the coverage forces Young to hold the ball, getting off the block and closes on him quickly, forcing him to throw the ball away as he brings him down to the turf.
Here are a couple more of examples of Hall pursuing the football with great effort, the first clip showing him running downfield to track down the receiver turning up field after the catch and the second clip showing Hall dropping into the flat and chasing down the WR screen along the sideline.
Derick Hall has plenty of traits and qualities you want to see in a pass rusher, but his hand usage does need to improve. He wins with strength and power on plenty of his reps or dipping around the corner but needs to develop more of a pass-rush plan regarding his hands and how he defeats blocks. The same could be said for his run defense as he can be delayed at fight off blocks or shed the block away from the football like what occurs on this play as the runner gets to the outside as Hall sheds back inside toward the middle, leaving one less body to defend the edge as the back hits the jets up the sideline.
Overall, Derick Hall fits the mold of what teams look for in an edge defender at the NFL level. He has the size, strength, and explosiveness to be a real weapon as a pass rusher as well as the ability to defend the run and drop into coverage. His effort on tape is astounding as well as his leadership which is well-documented both on-and-off the football field. He needs to develop better hand usage to get off blocks consistently and more of a pass-rush repertoire to utilize his hands better, but Hall is an enticing, talented prospect that plenty of teams are going to love.
When watching Hall, I see plenty of similarities to former Seminole and current New York Jet Jermaine Johnson II. Johnson is also a long, powerful pass rusher that wins often with his ability to convert speed to power as an edge rusher. He shows great pursuit to the football as well, flying around the football field with a motor that is always running hot. He went to the Senior Bowl and drastically improved his stock there, vaulting himself into the first round which I believe may be the case for Hall this year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need to improve their depth at OLB behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Derick Hall should be a top-50 pick, meaning Pittsburgh will have to take him with one of their top three selections. While some may belittle the need for a talented third-pass rusher, the best NFL defenses have the capability to throw wave after wave of pass rushers to thwart opposing offenses. Derick Hall would be the perfect fit in Pittsburgh’s system, giving him a vaunted trio that can rotate with one another or take the field together at one time, giving opposing offenses headaches.
Projection: Mid-Day One/ Early Day Two
Depot Draft Grade: 8.7 –Year 1 Quality Starter (1st Round)
Games Watched: vs Penn State (2022), at Mississippi State (2022), at Alabama (2022), at Georgia (2022) , vs Alabama (2021)