The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded back six spots on Thursday night and ended up just outside the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but they still got one of their most coveted players. Tampa Bay's defensive front may have gotten significantly stronger in the process.
The Buccaneers got the action started on Friday night with the first pick of the second round (33rd overall) by selecting Houston defensive lineman Logan Hall. Tampa Bay acquired that pick in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who moved up to the 27th slot and sent the Buccaneers the first picks in Rounds Two, Four and Six. Head Coach Todd Bowles said that Hall was one of a handful of players the team was considering drafting at number 27.
Hall figures to add pass-rushing juice to the Buccaneers' defensive line, which also features Vita Vea, who was signed to a lengthy extension in January, and Will Gholston, who was re-signed as an unrestricted free agent in March. The third interior lineman selected in the 2022 draft after the Georgia duo of Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, Hall was considered one of the best pass-rushing prospects at that position in this year's class. At 6-foot-6 and 283 pounds, Hall also can be a force against the run for a Buccaneers' defense that has allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL over the last three seasons combined.
"The film speaks for itself on this guy," said Bowles. "Once you see him on tape, he jumps out at you. He's 6-6, so that helps him a lot. He's got a strong lower body. The biggest thing is, he's a good athlete. He ran hurdles in high school and he grew into his body and he uses that to his advantage. He's very elusive in there, he's very strong in there and he's very deceptive in there."
The Bucs' defensive front is currently without one of its former starters, as veteran defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh remains an unrestricted free agent, as does fellow lineman Steve McLendon. Those two accounted for nearly 1,100 defensive snaps last year, so there is plenty of room for Hall to earn immediate playing time as a rookie if neither veteran returns. Even if Suh and/or McLendon re-sign with the team, the Buccaneers envision Hall making an early impact at the three-technique position.
"Playing three-technique is kind of the home position for me, so I'm really thrilled to be able to go and play at it at this level," said Hall. "Obviously I played the most snaps at that position so I'm really comfortable and I feel like I can get good production there. But playing the five, playing the four, all those are things I'm looking forward to."
Hall, who celebrated his 22nd birthday exactly a week before he was drafted, played four seasons at Houston and got into 45 games with 23 starts. He was part of a defensive line rotation as a freshman and sophomore and then cracked the starting lineup as a junior, though he was limited to eight games. His most extensive playing time and production came in 2021, when he started all 12 games and recorded 48 stops, a team-leading 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Those efforts earned him first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors as a senior. Hall also blocked a field goal attempt on special teams in 2021.