Through five weeks of the season, quarterback Jaren Hall has been BYU’s best, and most consistent player, by a wide margin.
With a revolving door at the receiver position, and a suspect running game, Hall largely carried the Cougars into their marquee matchup against Notre Dame.
This type of performance was expected from the fifth-year junior quarterback, and this season has seen Hall steadily climb up draft boards ahead of the 2023 NFL draft and get the attention of scouts.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has moved Hall up to his sixth quarterback in the 2023 class. The others in the mix will be Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker is also rising quickly, according to McShay.
The next few games will be big for his prospects.
Here is what the experts like about BYU’s QB1, and what they need to see improvement on, in the weeks ahead:
What they like
Accuracy and taking care of the football — Entering the weekend Hall had completed over 70% of his throws and had a 12:1 touchdown to interception ratio right now. His quarterback rating had been over 200 multiple times this season. In the words of offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, it really doesn’t get much more efficient than that.
But with Hall, the numbers are one thing. The types of throws he is making are another.
The throw where Hall really has shown his accuracy is the back shoulder. His touchdown pass to tight end Ethan Erickson against Utah State was a prime example of what scouts are talking about. It was a throw into a tight window, near the boundary, and placed where only Erickson could get it.
Louis Riddick, a former NFL scout and Director of Pro Personnel for the Eagles, remarked that the back shoulder is also a staple of NFL offenses and can translate easily.
“He specializes in these back shoulder, jump ball throws,” Riddick said. “Just look where he puts this ball for Erickson. Where he can go up high and just take it from the DBs. That’s a perfect throw from one of the best quarterbacks in the country.”
Here is a stat that speaks to the accuracy Hall has shown. Pro Football Focus tracks adjusted completion percentage. This says how many balls are on target and on time to receivers, regardless of whether the ball was actually caught. Hall’s is 77.9% — nearly seven points higher than his actual completion percentage.
Furthermore, he had three “big-time throws” against Utah State, according to PFF. They define a “big-time throw” by a ball that was fit into a tight window, usually down the field, and on time. He has had 10 this season, and had 21 all of last year.
Progressions — One thing that sticks out about Hall is how in command of the offense he appears to be. His offensive line has given him time, but Hall has routinely stayed in the pocket and gone through his progressions on most passing plays.
Riddick mentioned it several times during BYU’s game against Utah State, but others are noticing it, too.
Jordan Reid, a senior draft analyst for ESPN, also took note of Hall’s ability in his latest analysis of the quarterback.
“The offense incorporates a lot of wide-open formations that enable him to spread defenses out and demonstrate his ability to read out the step by step process of concepts,” Reid wrote.
Riddick also noticed that Hall has taken control over the offense in pre-snap situations. It is something that scouts notice, he said, at the next level.
“Total control pre-snap, post-snap and he has this sixth-sense right now of where the rush is,” he said.
Improvising — One of the things Hall said he wanted to work on going into the year was being able to get back on balance and make accurate throws at any point of the progression.
He looked at Patrick Mahomes and how he does it. He also looked at Josh Allen and Tom Brady. Brady, Hall said, was a lesson is having good feet throughout a progression so he is always ready to throw.
Todd McShay, a senior analyst at ESPN, said Hall has looked better at that this season.
He also said Hall is moving well in the pocket, something the quarterback focused on closely this offseason.
What still concerns people
Taking on a heavy load — Hall has been the most important person on BYU’s offense, but some want to see how well he can handle the load for 12 games and stay healthy. Particularly, they want to see how well he can handle the load against premier defenses like Notre Dame and Arkansas in back-to-back weeks.
Going into the heart of the schedule, Hall will have the opportunity to carry an offense that has been without Puka Nacua and is just getting Gunner Romney back. Hall will undoubtedly be the No. 1 threat for Notre Dame and Arkansas to account for.
“He can spin the ball as well as anybody,” Riddick said. “We are just going to see now how much he can take on himself.”
Size — Before the season, much was made of Hall being undersized at 6-foot-1. Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson also had that knock on him, and he was 6-foot-2
That being said, undersized quarterbacks have been taken highly in the draft in recent years and had successful at the NFL level.
Age — It is a difficult problem to change, but Hall will turn 25 before his rookie season in the NFL. There’s no denying that’s older than most drafted quarterbacks.
Hall might have the talent to overcome it, but it is an inevitable talking point in March.