Noble Hall is one of the most underrated defensive line prospects in college football. A junior Defensive End out of San Diego State University, Hall is a key component of the Aztec defense. Noble Hall is versatile; he's played both defensive tackle and defensive end for the Aztecs. Hall is also an explosive athlete capable of putting up huge games; en route to Week 2 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week against Arizona State early in the 2017 season, Hall recorded 5 tackles, including 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss (totaling 20 negative yards for ASU), two forced fumbles, and was instrumental in limiting the Arizona State offense to just 44 rushing yards. To those familiar with San Diego State University football, those numbers are not overly surprising for Hall; he has been a tackle-for-loss machine throughout his career as an Aztec. Hall has recorded 19.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks throughout the first three seasons of his college career, including 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles over 10 games in 2017. Heading into his senior season, I expect those numbers to rise. Noble Hall is a player who should be on every scout's radar heading into the 2018 season.
Hall's versatility is intriguing. In 2016, he started every game for the Aztecs at nose tackle. He moved to defensive end (his natural position) in 2017, and has put up outstanding numbers throughout the course of the year. His defensive coordinator, Danny Gonzales, expected the transition to be seamless. Hall responded to the move with a career year and has helped to carry the Aztecs to a Bowl game this season. Hall's ability to play multiple positions along the defensive line makes the Aztec defense far more versatile; as noted by Gonzales, "he’s played enough inside that we can move him back inside if we need to, and he’ll be just as valuable in there as he is at end." With a season of experience at defensive end at the collegiate level under his belt, I expect Hall to break out in his senior season. This is a player who I believe will play his way onto everyone's radar as a senior in 2018, and heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.
Noble Hall has received some accolades early in his career. On top of winning Week 2 Mountain West Defensive player of the Week in 2017, he was named to the 2017 Pre-Season All-Mountain West second team by Lindy's Sports, All-Mountain West third team by Athlon Sports, and All Mountain West third team by Phil Steele Magazine. He was also named "SDSU's Key Player to a Successful Season" by Pete Fiutak from Campus Insiders prior to the 2017 collegiate season. These accolades came even before analysts had an opportunity to see the results of Hall's move to defensive end for the 2017 season. The results were phenomenal. In what I believe was a huge snub, Hall was not ultimately named to any team on the Mountain West All Conference team. His numbers were better than multiple players on the list, and Hall's explosive play and competitive numbers show that he belongs on the official All-Conference list. While Hall was snubbed there, Athlon Sports recognized his achievements this season and named him third team All-Conference.
Hall is a player who deserves to be scouted by all 32 NFL teams as he heads into his senior season. He is a versatile, extremely productive player who has proven that he can shine under pressure and help lead his team to victory from both defensive end and defensive tackle. As a defensive tackle in 2016, Hall helped clinch a 45-40 victory over Cal with a last minute hurry of Davis Webb; that drive ended in an Aztecs interception, securing the win. In the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl, Hall recorded 2 tackles for loss and a sack as the Aztecs went on to win against Houston. In 2017, as a defensive end, his 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 2 forced fumbles in one game against Arizona State show that he can put up big games from any position along the defensive line. From a purely statistical standpoint, Hall already warrants consideration by NFL scouts, and his numbers should only improve as he heads into his senior season with a year of experience as a starter at Defensive End under his belt at the collegiate level.
Numbers are great, but they do not tell the whole story about a player's NFL readiness. If you want to gauge how a player will perform in the NFL, watch the tape. Accolades and statistics are nice, but at the end of the day, watch the tape, look at those stats and accolades, and then go back and watch more tape. When watching Noble Hall on film, he looks the part of an NFL player. He is an aggressive, intense player who gets good penetration against the offensive line even when facing a double team. He fights hard until the whistle, and has showcased an outstanding swim move from time to time to shed blockers. This ability to create difficulties against multiple blockers and strong swim move make him intriguing not only as a rusher on defense but also in special teams packages. The film shows that Hall is a player capable of creating problems for blockers at the next level due to his athleticism. He also uses his arms and hands extremely well, which is important for all line prospects, but especially defensive linemen.
At 6'3, 265 pounds, Noble Hall will likely be asked to play defensive end or be used as an EDGE rusher at the next level. In today's NFL, coverage skills are important even for players lined up on the edge of the defensive line. Throughout his career, Hall has shown himself capable of defending against the pass when necessary. This will help him earn playing time at the next level as NFL coaches grow comfortable trusting him in passing situations. Sometimes the most important defensive play that a player can make is a lack of a play by forcing an incomplete pass. Hall can do this both as a pass rusher through quarterback hurries and in coverage through passes defended. The important thing with Noble Hall is not that he covers like a cornerback; no defensive end does. The important thing is that his coverage skills are sufficient to get by in the NFL. His ability in all facets of the passing game give Hall potential as an every down player at the next level.
Ultimately, what makes Noble Hall stand out to me as a player are his intangibles. While watching his game against Arizona State this season, one play immediately stood out. Hall sheds his blocker quickly, bee-lines for the quarterback, begins to wrap him, and in the process forces a fumble. Rather than finish the tackle against a player who no longer carried the ball, Hall immediately shifts to pursue the loose ball. While you can coach this type of pursuit to a degree, this play highlights Hall's strong football instincts. He is a phenomenal player with a high motor who has shown that he is capable of feeling the game rather than simply playing it. Instincts cannot be taught. They come when a player is able to anticipate the game rather than reacting to it. Noble Hall's strong instincts and high level of intensity on the field mark him as the complete package. I believe that he has the talent to not only stick with an NFL franchise, but emerge as a significant role player or starter early in his NFL career.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Noble Hall as a potential prospect is that we are not viewing a finished product; he has one more year of development left at the collegiate level. There are already plays where he flashes clear glimpses of NFL-caliber athleticism and intangibles. His collegiate numbers have been solid, and he has come up huge in some extremely big moments. "Clutch" is one of those features that cannot be taught. Either a player is clutch or they are not. It is a difficult term to firmly define, but every time that Noble Hall comes up big in a big moment, he adds to his already strong body of work as a player and shows that he is a clutch player who can come up big on the biggest stages. With a full season of experience as a collegiate starter at defensive end under his belt, Noble Hall will be a force to be reckoned with as a senior. Overlook Noble Hall at your own peril; he is an NFL caliber talent primed for an outstanding senior season. Whether you are a fan or a scout, he needs to be on your radar now.--Mike B.
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