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You are more than welcome to be excited by the idea of the Seahawks drafting RB Breece Hall
What if Seattle took the best running back prospect this year instead of the best quarterback prospect?
In 2004, the Denver Broncos selected running back Tatum Bell with the 41st pick in the draft. Bell was 5’11, 212 lbs at the combine, ran a 4.37, jumped 38.5”, and posted 117” in the broad. He had dominated college ball for his final two seasons, rushing for over 6.0 yards per carry as a junior and a senior at Oklahoma State, scoring 27 touchdowns in his last 22 games.
In 2020, the Indianapolis Colts selected running back Jonathan Taylor with the 41st pick in the draft. Taylor was 5’10, 226 lbs at the combine, ran a 4.39, jumped 36”, and posted 123” in the broad. He had three dominant seasons of college football, rushing for almost 4,200 yards and 37 touchdowns in his last 27 games.
In 2022, the Seattle Seahawks have the 41st pick in the draft. They have a head coach whose served as the catalyst for a number of moves in the draft, free agency, and trade, that make his intentions clear with regards to the running back position: He loves these players more than most. From Rashaad Penny to Marshawn Lynch to Eddie Lacy and Christine Michael, Pete Carroll has shown no care for “conventional wisdom” at running back.
Breece Hall is a running back in the 2022 NFL Draft. He is 5’11, 217 lbs, ran a 4.39, jumped 40”, posted 126” in the broad, and he’s been college football’s best running back over the last two seasons, rushing for over 3,000 yards and 41 touchdowns in his last 24 games at Iowa State.
I have not done much more on Seaside Joe than allude to the probability that the Seahawks will choose a running back in the draft, suggesting that somewhere on day two is a reasonable estimate. Suddenly, Carroll could be in the unique position of being able to actually draft the best running back in the class—whether that’s Hall, Kenneth Walker III, or somebody else.
It’s so unfortunate that so many of Seattle’s fans have robbed themselves of the chance to be happy about the Seahawks drafting a running back in the second round, if that’s what Carroll and John Schneider choose to do. I do not want you to be so robbed.
If the Seahawks pick Breece Hall this year, allow yourselves to be as excited in that moment as you would be if you could travel back in time and re-visit the Marshawn Lynch trade with hindsight. That’s not to say that Hall will meet those expectations, but all I hear from the people who are begging for Malik Willis is, “Can’t you just allow us to have some FUN?!”
For those of us unfazed by the idea that Seattle will draft a premier running back prospect, can’t you allow us to have some fun?
Breece Hall could be the “safest” talent in the draft
A draft analyst can never be too safe with the word “safe” but it is just a point of FACT that running backs who are taken the earliest tend to turn out as quality NFL players more often than their counterparts at other positions. The downside with using the word “safe” in association with a running back is the issue of longevity—the position is far from “safe”—but if we’re only talking about the life of the rookie contract (four years) then it’s hard to go wrong with a back.
Many of the impact running backs were among the first in their classes and those teams had to pay a higher draft price to get them: Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris, Javonte Williams, D’Andre Swift, Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Josh Jacobs, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon were all top-50 picks going back to 2015.
Look no further than the long-delayed breakout season for Rashaad Penny. As much as it hurt to see Penny hurt for three years, the talent that he put on display in 2021 was the reason that the Seahawks drafted him 27th overall.
I believe that if a team has a vision of drafting a running back who could be as lauded as Henry or Taylor, that team absolutely has to make a move early in the draft. It’s possible that Seattle already has their sights set on someone like Dameon Pierce of Florida, and this is all moot, but if the Seahawks have a chance to get the actual RB1 of a class like they could in 2022—is that too good for Pete to pass up?
What makes Hall so good?
Elite Contact Balance
Contact balance is king for Hall. Some who evaluate the position believe contact balance is the most important trait, and it's easy to see why they feel that way when you watch Hall's tape -- he's constantly creating after contact and maximizing yardage.
Great Vision and Patience
Watch this play… Just watch this play…
Read this whole thread:
Breece Hall’s missed/broken tackles
Per Josh Norris, Breece Hall had 74 broken/missed tackles in 2021 and he calls Hall the “Big Play RB” of the 2022 NFL Draft. Penny was credited with 91 broken tackles in 2017, and we know what Lynch, Lacy were both known for, so this is a key attribute.
Norris says of Hall in this video: “He has STARTLING speed.”
Breece Hall is an elite athlete
In case you couldn’t tell from the earlier section, the one where Hall is a better athlete than Jonathan Taylor, but Hall posted the 7th-best relative athletic score of any running back since 1987.
Hall’s RAS compares favorably with Edgerrin James.
Hall is a rare dual threat, three-down modern NFL running back
Another player who comps favorably to Hall and went 44th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft is Matt Forte. Forte rushed for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns in his final season at Tulane, then posted at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the Bears in each of his first nine NFL campaigns.
Forte was regularly targeted 70+ times and rarely needed to come off the field. It’s hard to find running backs these days who defenses fear as a pass protector or as a pass catcher. Hall had 36 catches for 302 yards last season. Walker, the other best bet to be RB1 this year, had 13 catches for 89 yards.
He’s not a flash in the pan
Speaking of Flash—did I mention speed?
I’m not worried about Breece Hall’s college workload of 718 carries and 82 catches over the last three seasons. Chris Carson had 243 touches in college… what good did that do him as far as staying healthy at the NFL level?
What I am worried about is Seattle drafting players who have otherworldly traits that you can’t teach and rarely find in the draft without using a top-10 pick. Hall has otherworldly traits and he’s only going to be available in the second round because it’s not 2008 anymore. If Breece Hall entered the NFL in any other decade before the 10’s, he’s a top-15 pick.
The Seahawks would draft Hall, release Chris Carson (if they didn’t already), and give the 2022 season over to Rashaad Penny. Remember, the Seahawks drafted Michael when Lynch was only 27. Seattle picked C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, and Zac Brooks in 2016, after a promising (albeit sad ending) season for Thomas Rawls in 2015. Penny when they knew that they had unearthed a seventh round diamond in 2017 with Carson.
I put it at 0-percent that the Seahawks come out of the 2022 NFL Draft without a running back. The only question is: How high? Once you accept that Seattle has no trust in Penny or Carson being around in 2023, I think that could make the running back selection relatively early. Would that upset you? Tell me:
Hall up, wait a minute—any negatives?
Is Kenneth Walker III a better answer?
I’ll look into that next time.
How would you feel if the Seahawks picked Breece Hall or Kenneth Walker III over other positional needs? Tell me in the comments! Best comment wins a prize.