Last week, the Jets claimed edge defender Daeshon Hall off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles, so we’re going to take an in-depth look at his strengths and weaknesses.
The 25-year old is listed at 6’5” and 265 pounds and was a third round pick out of Texas A&M in 2017. His career his been disrupted by injuries so far and he’s registered just nine tackles and 1.5 sacks in 13 career appearances.
Hall was a four star recruit in high school and initially committed to Texas. He later withdrew that commitment because he wanted to be closer to his family in Seattle. However, he eventually ended up in Texas anyway with the Texas A&M Aggies.
Hall was in a rotational role as a freshman, racking up 28 tackles and starting one game. However, he didn’t record a sack.
Over the next three seasons, he became a starter but was overshadowed by Myles Garrett who was starting on the other edge. Nevertheless, he was productive, with 14 sacks in three years. His most productive season was his junior year in which he recorded career highs in tackles (54) and sacks (seven).
After deciding to return for his senior year, Hall racked up 50 tackles, but only had 3.5 sacks. He was able to improve his draft stock with a solid week at the senior bowl and a good combine workout, though.
The Carolina Panthers drafted Hall in the third round but he ended up missing almost his entire rookie season with an injury and then was released in final cuts the following year.
After brief spells in the 49ers and Texans organizations, he was poached by the Eagles late in the 2018 season and made three appearances with them at the end of the year. He recorded three tackles and 0.5 sacks.
Hall had an excellent preseason in 2019 and made the Eagles roster as a reserve but didn’t play much during the regular season, recording six tackles and a sack in nine games. He then suffered a serious knee injury in the last game of the season, which ensured he began this year’s camp on the PUP list after a failed physical.
The Jets claimed Hall last week after he was activated and waived from the PUP list.
Now let’s take a look at what Hall brings to the table, divided into categories.
Hall has good size and excellent length, although there was some discussion about him potentially adding some bulk so he could hold up better in the trenches at the pro level.
At his combine workout, his speed, explosiveness and agility numbers were all good, with a 4.76 in the 40-yard dash, a 36-inch vertical and 7.03 in the three cone drill. However, he perhaps doesn’t always display that explosiveness on film.
During his bench press at the combine, Hall only managed to register a disappointing 18 reps.
Hall will line up inside from time to time, but he’s essentially just an edge defender, often lining up extra wide in the Eagles “Wide 9” defense.
He has plenty of experience of playing with his hands in the dirt, often in a four-point stance, but also lines up as a stand-up linebacker on the edge regularly.
The book on Hall as a college prospect was that he could be lethargic at times and would drift in and out of games. However, that’s been less apparent at the NFL level, perhaps because he’s had fewer opportunities to shine. He was obviously a full-time player with the Aggies.
Based on his NFL film, Hall will keep battling, won’t give up if his initial move is repelled and displays some good hustle in cross-field pursuit.
Hall was a productive run defender in college but would get overpowered at the point of attack from time to time and scouting reports indicated he should aim to become stronger and more physical.
As a general rule, he looks really good when he is coming downhill or chasing plays down from the backside.
There are times when he will penetrate into the backfield but fails to disengage from his block in time to make the play.
It’s clear the Eagles viewed Hall as more of a pass rusher because they didn’t use him as much in rushing situations as they did on passing downs.
While Hall didn’t have huge sack numbers in college and only racked up pressure at a good but not great rate, his potential as a pass rusher is one of the main things that made him a day two pick.
In regular season action, Hall hasn’t had many opportunities to rush the passer, but he showed signs of really having put things together in preseason last year. Hall racked up 11 quarterback hits, including four sacks, and three forced fumbles to lock up a roster spot.
Of course, much of that production came against backups, but he did display an impressive bull rush on this rep against Ravens starter Orlando Brown, drawing a penalty to negate a touchdown.
He’s not just a power rusher though. Hall has an excellent get-off and can work his way around the corner with good bend.
Hall has a good approach as a pass rusher and an arsenal of moves, as well as an ability to transition from his initial move to a secondary move.
Coming into the league, Hall was regarded as a player with active hands, but not always effective in terms of his hand strikes and placement. The film from his 2019 preseason campaign suggests he’s really worked at refining these skills.
A lot of his pass rush moves see Hall use his length to create separation and then work his way off the block to get around the edge. On this play, he leads with a long arm move, then swats the blockers hand aside to get past him.
This is a similar concept, as he leads with a bull rush but then smoothly transitions into a rip move to generate pressure off the edge.
He’s less adept at speed moves such as jab step or spin moves but does attempt these from time to time.
As a run defender, he has the ability to shed a block, as long as he reads the run action in time to do so, but his pad level can get too high at times.
Missed tackles haven’t been a big issue for Hall at the pro level, although he did miss 11 in his senior year with the Aggies.
A common issue from him, though, is that he will make a late read and won’t be able to get in on a play because he penetrates too far upfield or fails to shed his block in time.
Hall has a knack for forcing fumbles with four in his last two seasons in college and a league-leading three in 2019’s preseason campaign. He puts a lot of his weight into big hits like this one.
Hall isn’t a player who will drop into coverage very often, although he did intercept a pass and returned it 54 yards in his freshman season.
He’s capable of dropping off the line into a shallow zone but isn’t really equipped to stay with receivers in space.
He hasn’t had much success with batting passes down at the line but will hustle to the perimeter or back to the ball on short passes.
As noted above, one thing Hall needs to work on is diagnosing running plays quicker so that he can shed his block and get in on the play in time.
You might expect him not to have good instincts in coverage but here’s a good play where he reads the back leaking to the outside, disrupts his route and stays with him as he runs downfield.
As noted, his approach and gameplan when rushing the passer one-on-one seems to have improved since he entered the league.
Hall has seen plenty of work on special teams, blocking on the return units, rushing punts and covering kickoffs. He’s made a few plays in kick coverage, showcasing some athletic ability to get downfield well.
In high school, Hall racked up three blocked kicks, but hasn’t blocked one in college or the pros.
Hall is regarded as a player with good work ethic, who displayed some leadership in college and has no character flags.
His on-field discipline has generally been good and penalties haven’t been an issue. However, he was ejected from a game and suspended for the next game for fighting in college.
He can be demonstrative on the field, getting excited when he does something good but being noticeably down on himself if he makes a mistake.
Injuries have been a big issue for Hall so far. He incurred a knee contusion in the first game of his rookie season and ended up being placed on injured reserve for the rest of the year.
Then, in the final game of last season, he suffered a torn ACL and wasn’t healthy enough to pass a physical at the beginning of training camp. He is reportedly healthy again now although it remains to be seen whether that will have robbed him of any explosiveness in the short term.
As noted, Hall often lined up in a wide 9 stance in Philadelphia, but he’s also lined up opposite an offensive tackle from time to time.
With Gregg Williams being someone who operates multiple fronts, Hall should fit in well, probably in a situational pass rushing role at the outset. Of course, Williams might not be here for much longer if there’s a coaching change on the horizon but Hall seems versatile enough to contribute in most systems.
There is an obvious link with Joe Douglas, who was still with the Eagles when they first acquired Hall. He’s also been a teammate of Greg Van Roten, Vyncint Smith and Ryan Griffin.
After his outstanding preseason campaign last season, Eagles fans were high on Hall and expecting him to break out. However, he didn’t get many opportunities with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett starting and Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry ahead of him on the second unit.
There is some untapped potential here and some of Hall’s film is impressive. However, whether he’ll be able to have an immediate impact coming off a serious knee injury is another matter.
There is plenty of competition among the young pass rushers on the Jets roster, with reps at a premium as they each try to establish themselves as a long-term contributor. Add Hall in to the mix as someone who could thrive if given a fair shot.