Breece Hall

Jets Tried To Trade Into First For RB Hall

Early in the second round, the Jets drafted former Iowa State running back Breece Hall with the 36th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, making Hall the first running back to come off the board for the year. Despite the annual debate over whether or not it’s worth it to use a first-round pick on a running back, this marked the first Draft since 2014 that a running back did not get selected in the first round. 

It was almost a continuation of the 7-year trend, though. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, New York was so high on Hall that they attempted to trade back into the bottom of the first round to draft him. Whether they just wanted to be extra sure Hall became a Jet or whether they sought to add a fifth-year option to his rookie contract is unclear at the time.

If New York had succeeded in this endeavor, it would’ve been the first time that an NFL team had used four first-round selections since the Jets, themselves, did it in the 2000 NFL Draft. The 2000 Draft saw the Jets select future-Pro Bowl defensive ends Shaun Ellis and John Abraham back-to-back at No. 12 & 13 overall. Five picks later, New York selected quarterback Chad Pennington, who would become their starter two years later and take them to the playoffs three times. Lastly, they drafted tight end Anthony Becht who became a red-zone threat throughout his tenure in New York.

The Jets are certainly hoping to get the same, if not better, success out of this year’s class. With two top-ten picks in cornerback Ahmad Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson, in addition to No. 26 overall pick defensive end Jermaine Johnson II and Hall at No. 36 overall, New York has added key pieces to positions of need.

Stacked up with last year’s high value picks of quarterback Zach Wilson, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, and wide receiver Elijah Moore, the Jets are looking to build draft success into success on the gridiron, something they haven’t seen since their last winning season in 2015, a year in which they still failed to qualify for the postseason. They will look to end the NFL’s longest active playoff drought and make the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 NFL season.

Jets Acquire 36th Pick From Giants, Select Breece Hall

The Jets have acquired the 36th pick in the draft from the Giants in exchange for the 38th and 146th selections, Field Yates of ESPN was among those to report. The Jets chose Iowa State running back Breece Hall with their pick.

In Hall, the Jets are getting one of the most explosive backs in this year’s draft. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder averaged 5.5 yards per carry during his college career, piled up nearly 4,000 yards on 718 attempts, and is coming off back-to-back seasons with 20 or more rushing touchdowns. He’ll complement Michael Carter as a Jet.

The Giants, meanwhile, acquired an extra pick from a local rival just to move down two spots. They’ve already added Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal in this draft.


Iowa State RB Breece Hall Getting Looks

While many analysts don’t predict a running back to go in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Iowa State’s Breece Hall has perhaps the best chance of any to do so. Hall has been making the rounds during the pre-draft process, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, spending time with the Texans, Bills, Giants, and Commanders.

Hall and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker are the consensus top-two running back prospects in the Draft, with Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller usually coming in as a slightly distant third. Most analysts have Walker and Hall extremely close, as well, with Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranking Walker at 35th and Hall at 41st and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network slotting Hall at 29th and Walker at 31st. The two differ a bit in body-type and playing styles with Walker being a stockier, more compact back with speed and power, whereas Hall is a big-bodied back with a smooth, elusive running style. 

In terms of depth chart, the Bills, Giants, and Commanders all have, at least, a semi-solid two-deep. The Commanders return Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Both have had some issues with health, but, for the most part, should be a reliable 1-2 punch. The Giants have Saquon Barkley and recently acquired Matt Breida. Breida hasn’t quite looked the same since leaving San Francisco and New York might be losing patience with Barkley as his name surfaced as a potential trade candidate last month. The Bills house Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. They also recently signed Duke Johnson, who will be a huge contributor in the passing game. While both Singletary and Moss have been solid in their roles, neither have been game changers with Singletary failing to top 900 yards in each of his three seasons and Moss’s career-high topping out at 481 yards. Both are smaller backs, as well, which might make Hall an attractive option.

The Texans probably have the biggest need here. They currently are rostering Marlon Mack, Royce Freeman, Rex Burkhead, Dare Ogunbowale, Darius Anderson, and Scottie Phillips. Mack is probably the favorite to lead the group in touches with Freeman spelling him and Burkhead a potential pass-catching back, but by no means should this be considered a strong position group.

In terms of draft position, a few options make sense here. The Giants and Texans aren’t likely to use any of their multiple early first-round picks on a running back, but both have early picks in the second round, as well, that might have Hall’s name written all over it. If any team were going to use a first-round pick on a running back, I could see the Bills sitting at 25 as a real option. A more likely scenario would probably see the Bills allowing a team to trade back into the first round and hoping to still land Hall in the second. The Commanders would benefit from seeing the running backs fall down the board a bit, as their second-round pick doesn’t come up until 47th overall.

It’s a bit of a crap-shoot to try and predict how the NFL will value a top college running back in any given year. Last year saw Najee Harris and Travis Etienne go back-to-back in the first round. The year before that saw Clyde Edwards-Helaire taken with the final pick of the first round. Though teams are often advised against it, you’d have to go back to the 2014 NFL Draft to find the last time no running backs were taken in the first round, when Bishop Sankey and Jeremy Hill were taken back-to-back in the second round, followed closely by Carlos Hyde.

Will Hall or Walker be able to keep the streak alive? Or will we see the streak of first-round running backs end at 7 years? Both players will have eight more days to make their case.

Draft Rumors: Williams, Colts, Cardinals, Texans, Broncos

After breaking out in his lone Alabama season, Jameson Williams encountered a significant hurdle to close his junior year. The ACL tear Williams suffered in the national championship game damaged his pre-draft stock, but it appears to be rebounding. Williams is now expected to be taken in the top 10, Chris Mortensen of ESPN said recently (h/t Eliot Shorr-Parks of; Twitter link). ESPN ranks Williams as its No. 4 wideout prospect, at No. 19 overall, behind ex-Ohio State teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave and USC’s Drake London. When available in 2021, the slender Crimson Tide wideout showed game-breaking speed in a monster statistical season. The 6-foot-1 transfer get totaled 1,572 yards (19.9 per catch) and 15 touchdowns. That total surpasses other first-round Tide wideout draftees like Julio Jones, Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle‘s final-season production at the SEC powerhouse. ACL tears are obviously not the deterrents they once were, and teams eyeing Williams through a long-range lens would make sense.

Here is the latest from the draft:

  • In what would seemingly be a meet-and-greet, as opposed to something indicating a potential draft choice, the Colts scheduled a Malik Willis visit, Ian Rapoport of notes (video link). Indianapolis traded its 2022 first-round pick to Philadelphia for Carson Wentz last year and acquired Matt Ryan to be its starter for at least the next two seasons. Willis would profile as a developmental prospect behind Ryan, but the Colts not having a pick until No. 42 makes a partnership unrealistic. The Liberty prospect has visited the Falcons and Panthers, and the Steelers have been linked to the Group of 5 passing prospect as well. The Colts could acquire another potential Ryan heir apparent in Round 2, but they make more sense as a QB suitor in 2023.
  • The Texans have another veteran stable of running backs, having added Marlon Mack to a group that includes Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman, but the rebuilding team could use younger talent here. Iowa State’s Breece Hall is viewed by some as this draft’s top back, and he visited the Texans on Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of tweets. After its two first-round picks, Houston holds the No. 37 overall selection. That would be the most logical window for Hall to become a Texan, barring a trade. The Bills, Commanders and Giants have also met with Hall.
  • Losing Chandler Jones in free agency after seeing J.J. Watt battle more major injury trouble, the Cardinals could use pass-rushing help. They met with a first-round talent recently, hosting Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis, Pelissero tweets. The 266-pound rusher did not post eye-popping stats (14 sacks in three seasons) but is viewed as a solid all-around prospect, whom’s Daniel Jeremiah compares to fellow ex-Boilermaker Ryan Kerrigan.
  • Russell Wilson‘s Denver arrival ensured the Broncos do not hold a draft choice until No. 64, but they are meeting with a higher-end tackle prospect. Tulsa’s Tyler Smith visited the Broncos recently, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos signed Billy Turner and Tom Compton; one is likely to become Denver’s 10th Week 1 right tackle in 10 years. But the team has long needed a young answer at this position. Smith rates as Jeremiah’s No. 41 overall prospect but sits 58th on ESPN’s big board.

Draft Rumors: Ojabo, Jaguars, Jets, Giants

Michigan still might see two of its edge rushers become first-round picks this month. Despite David Ojabo‘s Achilles tear last month, the ex-Wolverine’s talent could well keep him on track to hear his name called on the draft’s first night. Ojabo remains firmly on the Round 1 radar, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Ojabo is expected to make a full recovery, and a team that uses a first-round pick on him would be positioned to have him contracted for five seasons — via the fifth-year option. Operating opposite Aidan Hutchinson, Ojabo recorded 11 sacks in a breakout 2021. There is recent precedent for pre-draft injuries not keeping talented pass rushers out of the first round (Jeffery Simmons) and for Achilles rehabs going well enough players become factors months after the tears (Terrell Suggs, Michael Crabtree, Cam Akers).

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • Hutchinson and NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu met with the Jaguars this week, and Ian Rapoport of notes both will head to New York for Giants and Jets visits (Twitter link). Both players are candidates to go first overall, with Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker joining them. The Jets and Giants hold four of the next nine picks — the Jets having Nos. 4 and 10 and the Giants at 5 and 7 — and will be set to add top talent. The Giants have a few needs, but it will be hard to see them exiting Round 1 without a right tackle prospect. They have done extensive homework on Mississippi State’s Charles Cross and would likely pounce if Ekwonu, who is rated ahead of Cross almost universally, fell to 5.
  • After a strong Combine showing, Walker is being projected as a top-five pick. He will visit with each of the teams holding those selections, with Aaron Wilson of noting the Jags, Lions, Texans, Jets and Giants are meeting with the pass rusher. Despite weighing 272 pounds and frequently playing inside with the national championship-winning team, Walker clocked a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Viewed as a D-lineman with fewer red flags than Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, it is unlikely Walker will wait long to hear his name called.
  • Teams will do their due diligence on Thibodeaux, who is set to meet with the non-Jaguars contingent of the top five (Lions, Texans, Jets, Giants). The Eagles (Nos. 15 and 18) and Falcons (No. 9) are also planning “30” visits with Thibodeaux, Wilson notes. Questions about Thibodeaux’s motor and attitude have injected uncertainty into the defensive end’s status. A fall to Philly at 15 might not shock at this point.
  • One season remains on Saquon Barkley‘s contract, and the Giants‘ new regime has fielded trade calls on the previous staff’s top investment. The team is now using a few of its allotted 30 visits on backs. Breece Hall (Iowa State), Brian Robinson (Alabama) and James Cook (Georgia) visited the Giants on Tuesday, Albert Breer of tweets. Hall could be available when the Giants’ second-round pick (No. 36) comes. However, the ex-Cyclones standout grades as a first-round talent on Daniel Jeremiah’s big board. Cook and Robinson are viewed as later-round prospects.
  • The Commanders are also taking a look at a top back, being set to meet with Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker on Friday, Rapoport adds (on Twitter). Scouts Inc. grades Walker just ahead of Hall as this class’ top back, but views him as a second-round talent. The Wake Forest transfer blew up for 1,636 rushing yards in his only Michigan State slate. Washington also met with Hall this week, John Keim of tweets.
  • Andrew Booth may miss his NFL team’s offseason workouts due to hernia surgery, but that should not deter teams from considering the Clemson cornerback in Round 1. Booth has met with the Bills (No. 25) and Eagles, with Rapoport adding Patriots (No. 21) and Saints (Nos. 16 and 19) meetings are also on Booth’s docket.

Iowa State’s Breece Hall Enters NFL Draft

Iowa State running back Breece Hall is going pro. Hall is the latest of college football’s top rushers to declare, posting an announcement to his Instagram earlier today.

Although Dane Brugler of The Athletic has Hall listed as the third-best running back prospect, behind Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III and Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller, he is part of the consensus top-three among all draft sites.

“Playing for Iowa State has been nothing short of a gift,” Hall said in his posted statement. “After much praying and discussion with loved ones, I have decided to forgo my remaining eligibility and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.”

“While this decision has not been easy,” Hall continued, “playing in the NFL has been a lifelong dream of mine. I know that Cyclone Nation will support me and this decision. I am excited and grateful for this next step in my life.”

Hall sits at fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game with 122.67. He is also tied with four others for the most rushing touchdowns in college football with 20. His additional 3 receiving touchdowns gives him the most total touchdowns of any player in the NCAA (not including quarterbacks).

While there are not many mock drafts projecting running backs to be taken in the first round, Hall, Walker III, and Spiller are sure to be three of the top backs taken.