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Scouting Jets rookie running back Breece Hall

TCU v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Over the next few months, we’ll be breaking down every Jets rookie, including the undrafted free agents. Today we break down Iowa State running back Breece Hall, selected by the Jets with the 36th overall pick, in detail.

The 20-year old Hall is listed at 6’1” and 220 pounds and was a two-time all-American and Big 12 offensive player of the year. He rushed for over 3,000 yards and 41 touchdowns over the past two seasons and also caught 82 passes with six touchdown receptions in his three-year college career.


Hall, whose cousin is legendary former 49ers running back Roger Craig, was a four-star recruit out of high school after rushing for over 2,000 yards in each of his last two seasons. He headed to Iowa State and immediately became a starter to replace David Montgomery.

In his first season, Hall averaged 4.8 yards per carry and ended the season with just under 900 rushing yards. He also caught 23 passes and scored 10 total touchdowns. He was named as a second-team all-Big 12 selection.

As a sophomore, Hall opened the year with eight straight 100-yard rushing games. He eventually led the FBS with over 1,500 rushing yards and ended up placing sixth in Heisman Trophy voting. He rushed for 21 touchdowns, averaged 5.6 yards per carry and caught another 23 passes.

He was arguably even better in 2021 as he rushed for 1,472 yards and 20 touchdowns while averaging a career-best 5.8 yards per carry. However, he missed the chance to exceed his 2020 totals when he opted to sit out the team’s bowl game to prepare for the draft. His last game, against TCU, saw him set a career-best with 242 rushing yards.

He was named as a first-team all-Big 12 selection, the Big 12 offensive player of the year and an all-American in 2020 and 2021. As a measure of his consistency, he rushed for over 50 yards in each of his last 32 games and scored at least one touchdown in each of the last 24 games (an FBS record).

As an early entry into the 2022 NFL draft, Hall was not eligible for the pro bowl, but attended the scouting combine and was widely regarded as the top running back prospect in the draft and a possible late first-rounder. He was the first running back selected as the Jets eventually moved up to select him with the fourth pick of the second round.

Now let’s take a look at what Hall brings to the table, divided into categories.


Hall is listed at 6’1” but actually measured at just over 5’11” at the scouting combine. That’s no concern as, if anything, being shorter than six-feet tall is beneficial for a running back because taller backs can be more susceptible to injury.

He has decent size and impressed with outstanding numbers during his combine workout. Hall ran a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash and jumped 40 inches in the vertical and 126 inches in the broad jump.

He opted not to take part in the bench press or agility drills at the combine or during his pro day.


Hall has been a conventional tailback primarily, although he will line up in the slot or out wide about once or twice a game. He’ll also often line up out wide initially, before motioning back into the backfield prior to the snap.

He also took some snaps as a wildcat quarterback and apparently has a decent arm as one of his coaches said that he can throw it 60 yards. He tried to pass one time out of the wildcat but was sacked.

Running ability

Hall was obviously extraordinarily productive and has the full package in terms of his skill-set as a runner. Some have queried his long speed but he had six runs of 70 yards or longer in his three seasons at Iowa State and his combine 40-yard dash time opened eyes in terms of his true speed.

His ability to break long runs was something which really improved in his second and third seasons. In his first season, he had a 75-yard touchdown in one game, but didn’t have a 25-yard gain in any of the other games. However, his percentage of breakaway yards was much higher in 2020 and higher still in 2021.

Hall’s size is adequate but he’s not really a true power back and sometime runs with too much finesse. Nevertheless, he has the ability to run through tackles.

He also gives great effort and is a finisher, fighting for extra yardage and falling forwards at the end of most of his runs.

In terms of his elusiveness, Hall displays an ability to make sharp cuts and change direction quickly both in tight spaces and in the open field.

One weapon he employs to good effect is the spin move, which is smooth, well-balanced and used at the right times.

Various scouting reports have criticized his burst, elusiveness and balance or said that he could be more decisive at times, but this mostly seems like nit-picking.

He has shown he is capable of carrying a heavy workload, but the obvious downside to this is that he’s already taken plenty of punishment over the past few years.

Ball security hasn’t been a major issue but he fumbled four times in the past two years, although one or two of these were controversial calls.

Short yardage

Hall has a good record in short yardage situations and his 41 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons are testament to that, although many of these were from further away.

He has a good nose for the end zone and a knack for fighting to get to the marker in key situations. It’s also difficult to stop him in his tracks once he gets a head of steam.

He lost a costly fumble in last season’s loss to West Virginia, as he got the handoff and a chance to tie the score from the one with five minutes left in the game. The decision was controversial as at least one official had signalled touchdown and, even if the ball didn’t break the plane, the replay seemed to show his knee and elbow were down before the ball was loose.

Pass catching

With 82 receptions in his college career, including six for a touchdown, Hall has started to show he can be productive in the passing game and develop into a legitimate three-down back. However, he’s not completely there yet.

The vast majority of Hall’s production comes on screen passes or dump-offs underneath or in the flat. So far, he hasn’t shown much in terms of his ability to run a full route tree, which is something the Jets expect of their backs in the current system.

This seems to be more of a scheme issue than an inability on Hall’s part to do this. Iowa State simply didn’t run many of these plays with Hall instead usually required to sell a play-action fake or stay in to block. However, Hall was determined to prove his capabilities in this area during his positional drills at his pro day workout and was said to have made a good impression.

His hands have been pretty reliable, with a 90 percent catch rate and only two drops in the past two seasons. He failed to hold onto this pass though.

With most of his targets being on short passes, he didn’t get many chances to show off his hands, which are larger than average, but did haul in this clutch one-hander on fourth down.

He’s not someone Iowa State ever looked for as a downfield target but he’s been able to leak out on broken plays or blown coverages a few times.


The book on Hall is that he’s more developed than most rookies in terms of his blocking and he has plenty of experience of doing so, having even stayed in to block 114 times when he was a freshman. Predictably, he had some lapses in this role but his efficiency improved as his career went on.

He had one penalty for offensive holding while pass blocking in 2019, but was penalty-free in 2020 and 2021.

Hall also showed off some impressive lead blocking on running plays in certain packages with the Cyclones.

Special Teams

As a key offensive contributor from day one, Hall never played a single special teams snap at Iowa State. However, after Kene Nwangwu was drafted, he put his name forward as being willing to return kickoffs if the team needed it. They didn’t in the end but he did work on it in practice.


Hall is a patient runner with the vision to identify running lanes but also to get out in the open field and elude tacklers at the second level.

He isn’t prone to many blown assignments, with just one pre-snap penalty in his career for an illegal shift. However, he did make this error in pass protection.

One thing he’s shown is an aptitude for leaking out into open areas when the quarterback’s first option isn’t open and he looks to extend the play.


Unsurprisingly, Hall is another high-character individual. He was named as a team captain as an underclassman and said he was most proud of leaving the place better than it was when he arrived, after making “five star culture” a buzz phrase over his three seasons.

In addition to his leadership, Hall has exhibited maturity, reliability and a relentless work ethic.


Hall didn’t miss any games during his college career, other than the bowl game he opted out of. However, he was limited by a practice injury in 2021 and showed toughness by returning to a game in 2020 after suffering a twisted ankle.

Scheme Fit

At Iowa State, they run a combination of zone blocking schemes and man/power, so Hall should be well-prepared to fit into the Jets’ system.

Hall’s initial role is likely to be splitting time with Michael Carter, who ended up in a three-down role by default last year and perhaps broke down at the end of the year because he was overworked.

Ultimately, while Hall projects to being a three-down back, he does still need to broaden his skill-set as a receiving threat and get to grips with NFL pass protection packages.


We’re deliberately steering clear of the debate over whether a running back can be good value early on in the second round or if paying the price to move up for one is worthwhile. Hall is here now and the Jets will hope he justifies their decision by realizing his potential.

Hall’s talent is evident from his film, although it may be overly optimistic to portray him as an NFL-ready three-down back, as some experts have, because he still needs to work at some aspects of his game.

The good news is that the Jets are in no way relying on Hall to immediately fill that three down role. He can split time with Carter and the pair will hopefully both be productive while keeping each other fresh for the stretch run.

The Jets should have a good offensive line in 2022, so Hall has a good chance to be productive whenever he gets touches and will hopefully break some big plays and put together some nice performances in his rookie year. Looking further ahead, if he can stay healthy, his potential is limitless.