Jets’ Breece Hall’s pass-catching ability may come in handy

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Mekhi Becton cast a giant shadow over practice, even as a spectator still rehabbing a knee injury that cost him all but the opening game of last season. He was a sight for sore eyes for one and all … not the least of whose eyes belonged to Breece Hall, the prized rookie running back who was drafted to make life so much easier for Zach Wilson.

The weight isn’t over yet for Becton, a figure so imposing it is impossible to tell how much more forgiving the scale is now than it was when he was reportedly a couple of biscuits north or south of 400 pounds, and it is to be determined whether he can reclaim his left tackle position from George Fant or move over to the right side.

But the prospect of running behind, or hiding behind, a man mountain such as this … well, Breece Hall’s smile imagining the possibilities said it all.

“It was great to finally meet him. I didn’t realize how big he was in person, he’s a big guy,” Hall said. “Just from watching film, you could tell he’s real agile, he’s cool in what he does, so I’m excited to get behind him.”

Hall got to chop it up with Mount Mekhi and fellow running back Michael Carter on Monday morning in the training room.

“It’ll make it easier in me just getting guys out of the way and doing his one-11th on the field, so I’m excited for that,” Hall said.

Jets running back Breece Hall catches the ball during minicamp in Florham Park, N.J.
Jets running back Breece Hall catches the ball during practice.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Defenders won’t be able to see Hall, who is 5-foot-11, 221 pounds. Hall smiled and said: “Yeah. For sure.”

Hall ran a 4.39 40, but what makes him extra dangerous is how deceptive he can be.

“He’s a fluid mover. He sneaks up on defenders more than I guess you can say just watching on tape when you’re there in person,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said. “It’s just a different movement style that guys aren’t used to I guess you could say.

“He’s 220 pounds, and he covers a lot of yards when it doesn’t look like he’s covering a lot of yards,” he said. “He’s fast, so he gets up on people pretty quick, and then he’s such a fluid, big-body target, then when he makes his move it’s not like a smaller, shiftier running back where you have to feel if you have to put it on him. … He’s got a big catch radius, and I know the quarterback’s gonna feel that.”

Hall of Famer Curtis Martin proved to be the best friend of Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington as one of the mentally toughest and most relentlessly consistent players in the game. You need more than natural talent, but Hall does have oodles of it.

Jets running back Breece Hall speaks to the media after practice at minicamp in Florham Park, N.J.
Jets running back Breece Hall speaks to the media after practice.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

“I’ve always been sneaky-fast, not the fastest but definitely fast enough to burn you and everything like that,” Hall said. “I feel like I surprise a lot of people when I get the ball ’cause I can make real quick movements and get out of there. I’ve had a few plays where I’ve made a little something out of nothing throughout OTAs and everything like that that surprised a lot of people.”

Hall’s hands (82 catches, 743 yards, six receiving touchdowns in college) are considered good enough for him to be a three-down back, though Robert Saleh and LaFleur favor running back-by-committee, and are high on what Carter can provide as a change of pace.

“His hands were really good coming out of Iowa State,” LaFleur said, “and everything that we saw from the film, it’s all true.”

Hall looked natural catching several short passes from Wilson and turning swiftly upfield. He won’t shy away from any third-down role.

“I don’t think it would be a huge adjustment,” Hall said. “If you’d seen some of my catches in college, I can run routes and do all that type of stuff.”

Jets running back Breece Hall (20) runs a drill at minicamp in Florham Park, N.J.
Jets running back Breece Hall runs a drill during practice.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Hall mentioned Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Le’Veon Bell, Arian Foster and, especially, Alvin Kamara as backs he admires.

“I feel like he kind of plays the way I do, I feel like he makes stuff look really easy, he’s really smooth with the way he runs, he makes it look effortless,” he said of Kamara. “A lot of people tell me that’s what I look like when I play football.”

We’ll learn more about Hall in training camp when the pads are on, but guard Laken Tomlinson can’t wait to block for him.

“When he got the rock, I feel like he can roll,” Tomlinson said.

I asked Hall what kind of impact he thinks he can make as a rookie.

“Just to be that Mr. Everything-type of guy,” Hall said. “Whatever role the coaches need me to play, I’m gonna be able to do that.”

And if a revitalized Mekhi Becton can make life easier for him, Breece Hall can make life easier for Zach Wilson.



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