Enough With The Hall-Gabriel Comparisons
Bears fans and followers have already written new UDFA Emanuel Hall onto the roster and are looking to ditch Taylor Gabriel. I'll admit, Hall would be a much less expensive option, but sometimes you get what you pay for. Take it easy Bears fans, a little competition at WR doesn't mean we need to start dropping veterans. This article will explain how Emanuel Hall can't replace Taylor Gabriel.
First, let's look at why Emanuel Hall fell out of the draft. He was projected to be a day two pick. No one expected him to go undrafted, and that's why he received offers from 25 different teams as soon as the draft ended. It was clear many teams had valued Hall, but not enough to use a draft pick on him. The term "route tree" is used when describing the different routes a receiver can run, but with Hall, it's more like a route branch. He gets vertical, and that's about it. This isn't necessarily a knock - DeSean Jackson has been making a career of stretching the field and making big plays. Next is the fact that Hall dropped a lot of passes in college. Hall never plucks the ball out of the air at its highest point, most of his catches were made off his chest; he is more of a track sprinter than a football player. Hall's toughness has also been questioned. In 2017 he sat two games for soft tissue damage. His coaches were so displeased that they took him out of the starting line up and barely used him as a rotational player. Eventually, the coaches had to put Hall back into the starting line up because every time he was on the field the offense started clicking. His size and speed make him a promising prospect, but he'll need to improve to make the Bears roster. Hall's route running, toughness and hands are all reasons he fell out of the draft.
Taylor Gabriel went undrafted in 2015, but for many different reasons than Emanuel Hall. Gabriel is undersized and came from a no-name school (Abilene Christian). Gabriel is faster than Hall and runs a more diverse route tree. Coming out of college, Gabriel was not as polished of a receiver as he is now, but he's always been competitive. Of the games Gabriel has sat out, four were from concussions, and one was to give him extra rest before a first-round playoff bye. Gabriel had to battle for four years and played for three different teams before earning a starting role. No one but Emanuel Hall knows if he is willing to put in that kind of work to make it onto an NFL roster. Hall did say his draft day experience has put a fire in his belly like no other. His loved ones surrounded him in his home for a three-day draft party, and all watched him fall out of the draft. Only time will tell if he's as motivated as he says.
The one thing Gabriel and Hall have in common is speed. They both can run, but Gabriel's fastest 40 was 4.27 and Hall recorded a 4.39 at the combine. Hall was dealing with a nagging groin injury when he ran, but previous coaches and scouts will say Hall can run a low 4.3 when fully healthy. In every other way, the two players contrast. Gabriel is a developed, sure-handed, and undersized receiver. Hall's size and speed make him a raw prospect with some promise, but he needs to work on his catching and route running abilities. Emanuel Hall would not be a replacement for Taylor Gabriel. They are two completely different receivers. So Chicago, enough with the Hall-Gabriel comparisons.