116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Breece Hall smirked internally at the pre-run predictions.
Some NFL coaches told Iowa State’s two-time consensus first-team All-America running back they expected him to run a 40-yard dash in the high 4.4-4.5 seconds range earlier this month at the NFL Combine.
Hall’s thoughts at the time?
“All right, we’re gonna see,” the Cyclones’ all-time scoring leader said after Tuesday’s pro day at the Bergstrom Football Complex.
Hall became one of a record six running backs to record a sub-4.4 time in the 40 at the combine — and that along with other eye-popping numbers allowed him to focus solely on position-specific drills on pro day.
The self-proclaimed best running back in the 2022 NFL Draft showcased his pass-catching abilities and even split out wide at times.
“Just showing people that I can run routes effectively, I feel like I showed that,” said Hall, who is widely considered to be a likely second-round draft pick. “(Scouts) were surprised by how crisp I was, how good my hands are, how natural my hands are. So it just felt good.
“It was fun to get out there and, like I said, it was just playing catch.”
Hall didn’t have much to prove after flashing his speed, strength and leaping ability at the combine. He even struck up a friendship with former Michigan State star Kenny Walker while in Indianapolis. Walker ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine, Hall clocked in at 4.39.
“We had genuine conversations,” said Hall, who scored a school-record 56 touchdowns as a Cyclone. “We talked about challenging each other and everything like that.”
Hall and Walker are broadly considered to be the top two running back prospects in the draft, but most experts differ on who is No. 1 and No. 2. Hall, unsurprisingly, believes he’s earned the leftist perch.
“I think I deserve to be the first back off the board, but God’s gonna do what God wants to do at the end of the day,” Hall said.
As for Hall, any doubts expressed about his explosive and expansive skill set— even if it’s just based on fractions of a second — will continue to fuel him.
“It was a challenge, but it kind of (ticked) me off too, just the fact (they) questioned my speed,” said Hall, who notched 39 runs of 20 yards or more in his three years at ISU. “I feel like my ability is second to none because of my ability to hit the hole and accelerate out. I just feel like no other back’s doing that.”
Thirty-one of the NFL’s 32 teams sent at least one representative to ISU’s pro day. Eleven former Cyclones participated, including quarterback Brock Purdy, linebacker Mike Rose, and tight ends Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen.
Purdy showed versatility and accuracy Tuesday, completing 52 of 55 passes both in the pocket and on the run. Two of those misfires were drops.
“I honed into the mechanics of being a quarterback, so I learned so much on that side of things (from the pre-draft process),” said Purdy, who owns or shares 32 school records. “Obviously it helped me (Tuesday).”
Rose also expressed pride in his pro day performance.
“I just showed that I can move really well,” the likely mid- to late-round draft pick said. “I feel like a lot of people were surprised with what they saw (Tuesday). It didn’t really surprise me, but I feel like I showed I can move well and will be able to do it at the next level.”
Kolar said he wanted to demonstrate that his physical characteristics mirror the gaudy numbers he’s produced as the Cyclones’ first-ever three-time All-American.
“It’s like, what’s the actual guy?” said Kolar, who is pegged by most draft analysts as a middle-round pick. “I wanted to show that my film and everything backs up what I can do. Explosiveness. Speed. Agility. Everything. That’s what I wanted to show (Tuesday) and that’s why I was happy.”