Thoughts on Sam Houston State defensive tackle P.J. Hall, the second-round selection of the Oakland Raiders in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Oakland Raiders were on the clock with the ninth pick in the second round — the 41st overall selection. With offensive tackle addressed in the first round, the hope was that Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie would focus on the defensive side of the ball.
Among others, Harold Landry, Isaiah Oliver, Nathan Shepherd, Josh Sweat and Quenton Meeks were available. But instead, the Silver and Black instead opted to trade down just like they did in the first round. In a deal with the Titans, the Raiders moved pick 41 for picks 57 and 89.
With the selection, the Raiders went with small-school prospect P.J. Hall, a defensive tackle out of Sam Houston State.
Hall spent four seasons dominating at the FCS level, becoming the division’s all-time leader in tackles for loss with 86.5. He also racked up an absurd 42 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 33 passes defensed and 14 blocked kicks. Video game numbers.
Yooo PJ Hall a Hall of Famer bro #RaiderNation
— Albert Beer NFL🅥 (@TheFakeAlbert) April 28, 2018
He’s an above-average athlete, checking a bit undersized at 6’1 1/2″ and 308 pounds. But with a 4.73 40-yard dash and 36 bench press reps and a 38″ vertical, he made a name for himself at his Pro Day.
Hall’s motor is ridiculous, and pair that with his athleticism and it’s quite the combination. Here he is making a tackle more than 50 yards downfield.
Check out Jason’s sleeper, PJ Hall from Sam Houston State (6’1 310) As he chases the running back 55 yards down the field to make a TD saving tackle. pic.twitter.com/GajBHKpXwI
— Practice Squad Podcast (@PracticeGuys) April 16, 2018
His burst is top-notch, allowing him to quickly be disruptive in the backfield. Hence all the tackles for loss’ he racked up.
— BearkatSportsNetwork (@BearkatVid) November 14, 2017
At the Senior Bowl, Hall flashed at times but also struggled other times against the higher level of competition. He can struggle to get off blocks if an OT beats him to the punch, so he needs to work on improving his hand usage.
All in all, he’s raw and needs to prove himself more against top competition, but he’s definitely got the tools to succeed.
The pick fills a major need, which is a plus. Khalil Mack needs help and the best way to provide that is by adding a player that can push the pocket. If Hall can disrupt the interior, opposing QBs will have one less place to run with Mack coming around the edge.