When the Raiders drafted PJ Hall in the second record in the draft, many did not know what to expect. While some fully knew what the Sam Houston product could do. If you fast-forward to the present, what impact will Hall have this season. With a new coach, coordinator, and scheme, where will he fit? To answer this, FPC Raiders staff writers Camarillo, Aspuria, Simmons, and Berry details their thoughts on PJ Hall.
I would not expect much from Hall at all this year. The interior group was already before they drafted Hall. The team re-signed nose tackle Justin Ellis to a three-year deal during free agency. Clearly, the new regime thought highly of Ellis to offer him more than a one-year deal.
Hall cracking the nose tackle position got even harder when the Raiders signed Athyba Rubin late in free agency. You do not go out and buy a used car after you just bought a brand new sports whip. My point is, the Raiders would not have signed a veteran like Rubin if they were confident Hall was ready to contribute at nose tackle. I do not care if Rubin can teach Hall or the other defensive linemen to be a leader or professionals. Gruden would not have signed the veteran if he did not think he could come in and compete for playing time.
At the other defensive tackle position, the Raiders have Eddie Vanderdoes and Treyvon Hester flashed abilities to contribute. On top of that, the group drafted Maurice Hurst who had a first round grade. Mario Edwards Jr., Tank Carradine and Frostee Rucker can all slide down into the three technique position for passing downs as well. That means, I do not know if Hall can exactly crack the defensive tackle position either. IF anything, Hall may be able to play nose tackle on passing downs. That is a big if considering Oakland could use any of the aforementioned players in that exact role.
A spot rusher/run stuffer who plays a similar role to the one Treyvon Hester had last year. Despite getting drafted lower, fellow defensive tackle Maurice Hurst has the higher collegiate pedigree and is more likely to start Day 1. Hall’s role will grow tremendously after his initial season in the NFL. His natural talents are tremendous. Once he adapts, he and Hurst will be a force.
PJ Hall should probably be not much more than a rotational player at least until the staff is confident that the big leagues are not too much. While it can seem like a player has it, you cannot discount how much ground he might have to make up due to the level of competition in college. Having said that I do think he is Justin Ellis’ eventual replacement and I do think it could happen even a bit earlier than initially thought. If Hall can land around 3-4 sacks with some solid run play then the Raiders should be happy on the initial investment. It would not be unheard of for the small school player to bust due to the talent gap or thrive due to work ethic.
Realistically, PJ Hall could have 20 tackles and three to five sacks. The Colts and Seahawks have terrible offensive lines and as long as the Raiders resign Khalil Mack, Hall will get some one on one opportunities. He is an athletic juggernaut in his own right. The Chargers have are young at guard and horrible at right tackle. The Broncos guards have been suspect for a while. Surprisingly, he could have a breakout game against the Rams. That offensive line overachieved.