Unpacking Future Packers: No. 39, Ohio State DL Michael Hall Jr.

The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2024 NFL draft.

The Green Bay Packers have invested heavily in the defensive line during the past two NFL Drafts. Brian Gutekunst selected Devonte Wyatt in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and drafted Lukas Van Ness in the first round the following year. Along with those two first-rounders Gutekunst has selected Kingsley Enagbare, Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks.

With those pieces in place around Kenny Clark, Rashan Gary and Preston Smith the Packers have the makings of a dominant front seven for new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.

If the Packers opt to add another piece to the mix, a player they could target is Michael Hall Jr. The Ohio State defensive tackle checks in at No. 39 in the Unpacking Future Packers Countdown.

After redshirting in 2021, Hall recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks during the 2022 season. This past season, the Ohio native recorded two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. 

“The production didn’t match the number of snaps last year, but part of that was because of the attention he commanded,” Tony Gerdeman, the lead writer for Buckeye Huddle, said. “He was part of a two-man rotation at nose tackle with Ty Hamilton the past two years. He is more of a penetrating tackle than a run-stopping wall.”

Hall is juiced up. At Ohio State’s pro day, he clocked a 1.65 10-yard split and a 4.75 40-yard dash at 299 pounds. 

“His quickness is elite,” Gerdeman said. “He was an undersized nose tackle and I’ve always viewed him as more of a three-tech. But as he showed at the Senior Bowl, he has speed and quickness, which can also be turned into power because he gets too offensive linemen before they expect it.”

Hall fires out of his stance and quickly gets upfield with his initial burst off the snap. He’s naturally powerful and drives offensive linemen backward. While his first-step quickness is his trump card, Hall has a deep back of tricks he can turn to to keep offensive linemen off balance. 

He has had some tremendous moments in his career, but he’s never been a consistent stat producer,” Gerdeman said. “Against Michigan State in 2022 he only played eight snaps because he was dealing with a shoulder injury. He had four sacks in those eight snaps. One of the sacks was negated because of a defensive penalty from a defensive end. He shared one of the other sacks, so he ended up with 2.5 sacks in that game, but he batted .500 on getting to the quarterback.”

With his quickness, Hall can get in the backfield before the running back gets a head of steam. While he may not always make the play, he throws off the timing. He has the lateral quickness to make plays up and down the line of scrimmage and chase down ball carriers. He uses his length and hands to keep himself clean. 

“Hall can disrupt things, which allows teammates to clean up the mess,” Gerdeman said. “Ohio State’s defensive line coach wants his defensive tackles to get upfield, which can sometimes make stopping the run a bit more difficult.”

Fit with the Packers

With the pieces already in place, the Packers don’t have a pressing need for another interior defensive lineman. However, a team can never have enough pass rushers and while Hall’s production doesn’t jump out at you, he’s dripping with tools and could develop into a more consistent force at the next level. Given his athleticism and age (20), Hall screams future Green Bay draft pick. 

“You can’t teach his quickness but you can put it to good use,” Gerdeman said. “He can be extremely disruptive and ruin a play before it even gets started.”

Hall is dripping with tools. He has the frame and athleticism to develop into a 3-tech wrecking ball. His quickness of the snap could cause offensive lineman fits and he could make a living in the opponent’s backfield. While the production didn’t always match the tools, that won’t stop the Packers from potentially rolling the dice on the toolsy Ohio State defensive linemen. 

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire