Taken in the 4th round with pick 109 out of San Diego State, the scouting report on Darren Hall was clear: this guy was a ball hawk. It’s clear the intention wasn’t for Hall to get much playing time in 2021, but that changed with the season-ending injury to Isaiah Oliver.
Let’s take a look at how the rookie did in his first year.
39 targets, 30 receptions, 76.9 completion percentage
282 yards surrendered, 9.4 yards per reception
113.4 passer rating allowed
2 TDs allowed, 0 interceptions
Rookie year highlights
Week 17 at Buffalo: 65.6 PFF coverage grade, 4 targets, 2 receptions for 21 yards
Week 18 against New Orleans: 74.4 PFF grade, 74.5 grade in coverage, 2 receptions on 3 targets for just 6 yards
Of the three rookies to fill in for the injured Isaiah Oliver, Hall may have shown the most promise of them all. The fourth rounder was expected to come in and compete for some playing time in dime sets, but the injury to Oliver in Week 4 expedited the need for him to contribute. His playing time didn’t really increase dramatically until Week 10 at Dallas, where he registered 21 snaps.
His overall stat line is nothing to write home about, but the progress he made during the season was noticeable. After getting regularly beat early on, Hall finished the year playing better overall coverage and finished the season against New Orleans with his best performance to date. That said, he’s probably best in a nickel or dime role right now, but a big leap in the offseason could have him competing for the spot opposite Terrell, especially if the team doesn’t address corner early in the 2022 NFL draft.
There’s a lot of promise with Hall, but let’s be clear: his 2021 level of play won’t cut it in 2022, at least not as a starter. If he can live up to the promise and take a big step forward this year, he could be a starter on this defense as soon as 2022, but he figures to be a useful piece of this defense no matter what.