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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Iowa State RB Breece Hall

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Iowa State RB Breece Hall

5-foot-11
217 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.12 — possible first-rounder; possible immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report

Compactly built back with dynamite long speed, good toughness and surprising quickness, but his third-down value might be limited

The skinny

A 3-star Rivals recruit in the Class of 2019, Hall chose the Cyclones over Michigan, Iowa and other programs and was thrust into the rotation immediately. He played in 12 games as a freshman (starting the final seven), rushing 186 times for 897 yards and nine TDs and catching 23 passes for 252 yards and another score.

In 2020, he ran 279 times for 1,572 yards and 21 TDs and caught 23 passes for 180 yards and two TDs in 12 games. Hall rushed 253 times for 1,472 yards and 20 TDs and caught 36 passes for 302 yards and three scores in 12 games in 2021, skipping the bowl game. He declared early in the 2022 NFL draft.

Iowa State RB Breece Hall is a big-play threat. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa State RB Breece Hall is a big-play threat. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Upside

  • Terrific NFL combine workout — outstanding 40 and jumping drills

  • Nice RB build with requisite bulk for in-between-tackles duty

  • Great patience to allow blocks to develop

  • Quick bursts are all over his tape — great suddenness to explode through the hole

  • Flashy jump cut makes unblocked defenders grasp at air

  • Gains a quick head of steam and rolls downhill fast

  • Don't give him a crease or he's gone — clear home-run threat

  • Terrific open-field creativity to get would-be tacklers twisted up

  • Seldom goes down on first contact — always running through contact

  • Good leg churn to burrow his way through the trash

  • Great balance to wind his way through tricky spots and stay upright

  • Effective running outside/inside and in gap/zone concepts

  • Efficient chain-moving skill on third- and fourth-and-short

  • Played behind sub-par run-blocking offensive line — hit often in backfield

  • Very good receiving ability to offer functional third-down value

  • TD machine — absurd 46 scores in final 24 college games

  • True workhorse — 531 carries past two seasons, 111 more than any other Power Five RB

  • Tough, competitive back who often was primary target of opposing defenses

  • Turns 21 years old in May — terrific upside in younger prospect

Downside

  • Could add a little more bulk if he's asked to be main inside runner

  • Skipped lateral-agility testing at combine and pro day

  • Sometimes is too slow to burn — too much pitter-pattering

  • Best-served when he has a little runway to get going

  • Occasionally reads the hole wrong and runs up into his blockers

  • Can do better job switching ball to outside hand on perimeter runs

  • Could stand to lower his pads and deliver the boom more often

  • Third-down value hurt by shaky pass-protection skills

  • Receiving ability limited to screens, flares and dump-offs

  • Only targeted four times in career as receiver 10 yards and beyond

  • Not a true chess piece — almost always lined up in backfield

  • Second-half fumbles cost his team points in 2021 losses to Iowa, West Virginia

  • High workload — 800 touches past three years combined

  • Never used on special teams

Best-suited destination

Hall has the makeup of a volume back and potential to become a centerpiece in a ground-based attack. He's not there yet in the receiving portion of the game, as a so-so blocker and limited receiver, but we wouldn't call those glaring weaknesses either. But in a perfect world, he'd be the primary first- and second-down back and the Plan B on third downs early. He has the look of an early standout in the NFL, especially if he plays behind a strong run-blocking unit, and is a scheme-diverse runner with mass appeal in the league.

Did you know

Hall's cousin is former 49ers star RB Roger Craig, a major piece of San Francisco's title teams in the 1980s. His stepfather, Jeff Smith, was Craig's former backup at Nebraska and also was an NFL back, playing four combined seasons with the Chiefs and Buccaneers.

Player comp

Jonathan Taylor, just not quite as thickly built

Expected draft range

Top 40