MAURA DOOLEY

SEC analyst explains what Seahawks are getting with Derick Hall

May 18, 2023, 12:58 PM

Seattle Seahawks draft Derick Hall...

Derick Hall of the Auburn Tigers tackles KJ Jefferson of the Arkansas Razorbacks on Oct. 16, 2021. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

As the Seattle Seahawks players arrived on the field at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for rookie minicamp last weekend, Derick Hall was someone that immediately caught your eye. Even head coach Pete Carroll took notice of the 6-foot-3 edge rusher from Auburn’s physical presence.

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“He really looks the part,” Carroll told the media after practice. “He weighed in at 255 lbs, in good shape and has a really good feel for the position.”

The Seahawks selected Hall in the second round with their 37th pick, but Seahawks team reporter John Boyle recently revealed that they had a first-round grade on him.

So what did the Seattle Seahawks see out of Hall to position him near the top of their draft board? Former Auburn player and current SEC and ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk last Tuesday to discuss the pick.

The Seahawks have made it clear in recent years that they are weighing character just as heavily as they do on field impact when putting together their draft board. By all accounts, Hall fits the bill.

“First of all, I’ll just say this – you’re getting an amazing human being in your facility,” Cubelic said. “Derick Hall is a guy that came back to play one more football season with his teammates because he enjoyed being at Auburn, he enjoyed being an Auburn football player, he enjoyed his teammates. I think he wanted to prove that he could be a guy that led a football team, or at least that side of the football and go out and try to better themselves from what they were the year before.”

Being a great teammate and leader is something that every coach is looking for, but where Hall may have separated himself for Pete Carroll and John Schneider is by embodying the “always compete” mentality that is a fundamental part of their program.

“He never slowed down,” said Cubelic. “It didn’t matter if they were a two-win team or a 10-win team, if they were up by 10, or down by 20. You got the same player every down and that is somebody that just wants to hammer you into the ground. Physicality will not be a problem; mentality will not be a problem. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

How does that level of drive and mental toughness translate into Hall’s play?

“Physically, you’re going to get one of the more intimidating players on the team,” said Cubelic. “He doesn’t have a ton of twitch, but he’s a guy that’s going to play larger than he is, play stronger than he appears to be and generates speed to power, which is something he has been very successful with.”

That description had Mike Salk wondering if Hall might play a similar style to another Seahawks edge rusher in Darrell Taylor.

Cubelic, who is very familiar with Taylor from covering the SEC while Taylor was at Tennessee, broke down the nuances of each player’s game.

“I really liked Darrell Taylor coming out and I liked him at Tennessee,” he said. “Taylor feels much more like a four-down defensive end than a 3-4 edge defender, which is how I would classify Derick Hall. I think Derick Hall’s going to have a little bit more explosiveness, a little bit more twitch, a little bit more speed. I think he’s just a stronger football player in general. Darrell Taylor just gives you more length, which would be the biggest advantage I think he would offer, maybe a little more flexibility as well. He’ll get a little lower to the ground in that dip and rip than Derick Hall could, but out in space I would trust Derick a bit more, even though it’s not his strength.”

While there are some differences between the two, the Seahawks pass-rushers as a unit actually have a lot in common. Carroll says that’s by design.

The head coach joined Brock and Salk last Thursday and gave his thoughts on Hall, Taylor, Boye Mafe, and Uchenna Nwosu.

“I think they’re more the same than they are different,” Carroll said. “They all have good speed, they’re all athletic, and they’re all aggressive. They’re all strong, fit guys that are flexible enough that they can rush the passer primarily but they also have the ability to do some coverage stuff that we can mix in to make it multiple. We want a rotation. I want those guys to be just fast and furious coming off the edge.”

The Seahawks felt they needed to add some depth in order to allow this group to stay fresh and really utilize the speed and power they all possess to create pressure every play. Hall fits the bill.

“He’s going to take football extremely seriously,” said Cubelic. “I think he’s also just a winner…just in life. That’s the guy that he is and the guy that he’s been.”

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