Earlier today, we put together a list of six later round prospects who feel like future Pittsburgh Steelers. They have the skillset, the look, the feel of someone Mike Tomlin is going to want.
Auburn EDGE Derick Hall isn’t a late round guy. He’ll hear his name on Day Two. But he feels like a Steeler as much as anyone in this year’s class. Still, that draft price tag may end up being too rich for Pittsburgh.
Here’s how Hall weighs-in. 6026, 254 pounds with 34 1/2 inch arms. That’s a Steelers’ outside linebacker. That’s the size you want and definitely the length the team desires. Coming out of their drafts, T.J. Watt was 6042, 252 pounds with 33 1/8 inch arms. Alex Highsmith was 6031, 248 pounds also with 33 1/8 inch arms. Hall is a little squattier but longer and just watching him at the Senior Bowl, he has the makeup the team looks for.
Hall has played against the best of the best in the SEC. A two-year starter for the Tigers, he’s recorded 24 tackles for a loss, 15.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles across 2021 and 2022. At this year’s Combine, he proved his athleticism too, with a 4.55 40, 1.59 ten split, and showing his explosion and get-off with a 10’7″ broad jump. The only thing Hall didn’t do was the agilities and there’s some question over his tightness and change of direction but overall, he’s the plus-athlete the team demands.
But he’s more than the numbers. The tape matters most. And to be a Steeler, you can’t be a one-trick pony who rushes the passer. Hall can play the run, too. At the Senior Bowl, he set a physical edge and made plays during the 9v7 run session. Watch the first clip here, stacking and violently shedding the tight end to make the stop on this play.
It’s a ferocity and tenacity that serves as the foundation to be a Pittsburgh Steelers’ EDGE rusher. Joey Porter, James Harrison, T.J. Watt. Nasty junkyard dogs who play that way on the field. Hall shows the same traits and our scouting report from Jonathan Heitritter outlines him well.
The only problem here is Hall is so talented drafting him will come with a steep price. If Pittsburgh wants him, they’ll need to snag him with the 49th overall pick and there’s even a chance he’s gone before then. But he won’t make it to #80 in the third round. That could be too rich for a Steelers’ team with other needs, though I’d argue there’s value in having a strong #3 OLB behind Highsmith and Watt while still addressing two other areas at #17 and #32. That’s what the uniqueness of having three picks in the top 50 affords the Steelers. A little bit of “luxury,” though quality depth at OLB shouldn’t be considered as such. Pittsburgh saw how their defense fell apart without Watt last season. Statistically, he’s as important to his team as anyone in the NFL is, including quarterbacks, and while Hall wouldn’t be a 1:1 replacement, it’s acknowledgement from the front office how critical a solid Plan B is.
Draft good players. Teams who do that, regardless of position and box-checking needs wins out. Hall is a good player. He’s a great system fit. And I’d be thrilled if he became a Day Two pick.