The sooner running backs can start working with their offensive lines and understanding how to protect their quarterback, the better off they’ll be. These are just the facts. Honing the art of pass protection while also still being a formidable running threat is the surest way to add value to your draft stock as a prospect. Judging off that indicator, Iowa State running back Breece Hall could see his rise after what he talked about during his podium session on Wednesday in Indianapolis. “I feel like every back transitioning from college to the NFL can improve on pass protection because that's how you get paid,” Hall said. See versatility when it comes to running backs doesn’t just mean being able to catch the ball or run routes. It very much includes being able to pass block and work cohesively with another unit. That’s where teams will see real value and maybe even prioritize a prospect. But the issue is that it isn’t taught as a fundamental skill to running backs. Players likely never gave it a second thought in high school and it only just recently became commonplace in college with the blurring of the lines between the college and pro games. “I feel like coming into college as a 17-year-old like coming from high school, you don't really know what pass blocking is and you don't know the technique,” said Hall. “You don't know why you have to do it. But as I've gotten older, I realized that you can use it to make your money being able to protect a quarterback.” It goes a long way in becoming an every-down back, too. Those are the guys with the biggest contracts because they can simply do more of the work. It’s impossible to be featured or even lead a committee if you can’t be relied upon to stay and protect your quarterback in third down and passing situations. But because it isn’t part of the base curriculum, it takes some real effort to learn and that willingness and attitude is apparent in Hall. “My coaches have always preached to me to do the little things right and my natural ability will take over,” he said. “So I feel like my past protection is always my eyes are right, my technique is right and my natural ability will take over.” That natural ability has also served him well in the more traditional sense. Hall’s production has consistently been off the charts the past two years in Ames. His sophomore season he rushed 279 times for 1,572 yards and 21 touchdowns. He followed that campaign with a junior season that saw him pound the rock 253 times for 1,472 yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2021, he also added 36 receptions for 302 yards and three touchdown catches, more than solidifying he can be a dual-threat back. Add in his ability and willingness to pass block and I don’t see why Hall couldn’t be an immediately impactful player in his first season with a team.
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