Should Breece Hall go in the first round? – Iowa State Daily

Breece Hall has the potential to be Iowa State’s second first-round pick in program history.
Breece Hall runs for a touchdown against TCU on Nov. 26, 2021. Hall rushed for a career-high 242 yards in his final game as a Cyclone.

Sports editor
Breece Hall has the potential to be Iowa State’s second first-round pick in program history.
You’re going to hear a lot about Breece Hall and the running back position over the next week.
After all, the 2022 NFL Draft begins Thursday, as the future of the NFL takes center stage for a weekend full of analysis, predictions and projections. Teams will use their lottery tickets, i.e., draft picks, to try and build their winning rosters.
There’s a good chance Hall, and other prospects, will hear chatters of “there’s no need to take a running back in the first round,” throughout the three-day event.
Overall, draft analysts have Hall as a premier running back option in this year’s draft. They like his vision, patience, improvement as a pass-catcher, ability to break tackles and confidence — all desirable traits.
Keith Sanchez, a senior NFL Draft analyst for Draft Network, said, “If there was a running back to make a case for the first round, it’s Breece.”
So, what makes some think a running back is not worthy of a first-round pick?
Dane Brugler, a NFL Draft analyst for The Athletic, responded via text to the notion that running backs have less value than before Friday.
“I don’t think teams view running backs as having less value,” Brugler wrote. “They’re still important in a modern day offense. But because it is easier to find running backs outside of the top-50 picks, some teams will choose to address other positions first in the draft but have no reservations drafting backs early.”
Matt Campbell laughed at the idea of a player of Hall’s caliber being under-valued in draft rooms. Campbell and the Cyclones watched over the last two seasons as Hall paced the Big 12 and the nation in multiple rushing categories, all while breaking NCAA records.
Leading up to Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft, Campbell told reporters Iowa State has received plenty of calls about Hall from interested teams.
“I chuckle when I hear people say at the National Football League, ‘what’s the value [of a running back]?’ ” Campbell said April 15. “Boy, I think we’ve learned the value of a great tailback can be huge.”
If analysts admire Hall and Iowa State has handed out a ringing endorsement, what could stop Hall from becoming Iowa State’s second first-round pick in program history?
The numbers show…
Breece Hall runs for a touchdown against TCU on Nov. 26, 2021. Hall rushed for a career-high 242 yards in his final game as a Cyclone.
In the last seven NFL Drafts, 12 running backs have been selected in the first round. Of those 12 backs, seven have made the pro bowl, and the team that drafted them won a combined 14 playoff games while they were on the roster.
The shelf life of a running back has been in question in recent years. Fact: they average 3.5 seasons with the team that drafted them.
When you look at the last seven Super Bowl Champions, one team has started their own first-round running back during the season.
And of the last seven Super Bowl Champions, four of them had an undrafted running back as their starter for the Super Bowl.
“This league is becoming a passing game and you have to be able to catch the ball or you’re gonna be a one-dimensional back,” Hall said March 22 at Pro Day. “I feel like being a three-down back is the most important.”
TD No. 3 today for @BreeceH with the longest rush of his career. Might as well give him the @DoakWalkerAward now. #BreeceTheBeast 🌪🚨🌪 pic.twitter.com/7tPnURaFWI
In the NFL, rookie contracts last four years (with a fifth-year option for first-round selections), and teams have become more inclined to select a back in the second round or later for similar value without the weight of a hefty contract down the road.
Just seven of the 32 NFL teams started a first-round running back in 2021. Specifically, 15 of the 32 backs were drafted in the third round or later.
And if you want the average draft position of the 32 starting running backs, you’re looking at an average of 67th overall. That’s the average draft placement of a starting NFL running back.
NFL analysts would say in today’s NFL, the position is interchangeable, and without being a dynamic pass-catcher, running backs can be found almost anywhere.
Teams need someone to affect multiple facets of the game, someone who can be involved in different extents of an offense, hence Hall’s comment about showing his receiving abilities.
“Wanted to come in and show what I could do, prove that I’m once again the best running back in this draft,” Hall said March 22.
But if you look at how previous drafts have gone, the narrative hasn’t been bought by all NFL teams in recent years. The 2014 NFL Draft was the last time zero running backs were taken in the first round.
Hall could make history Thursday and continue the love for running backs in the first round.
The 2022 NFL Draft begins at 7 p.m. Thursday in Las Vegas. The draft will be broadcast on ESPN.
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