So far, we've covered 4 of the 6 RBs scheduled to be at the Senior Bowl. The 2 remaining players are Eric Gray from Oklahoma and Hull from Northwestern. Of all the Senior Bowl RBs, I bet Hull is the least well known. Northwestern has been really bad since making the Big Ten title game in 2020. They had a 3-9 record in 2021 and this season they lost their final 11 games to finish 1-11. They do have the top ranked OT in the draft, Peter Skoronski. On one of Hull's runs, I exclaimed "Did you see that block by number 77?! Who is that dude? That's an NFL guy."
Being on a bad team sometimes can cause a prospect to be overlooked. Plus, Northwestern isn't exactly a factory for future NFL stars. Is there more to Evan Hull than meets the eye? Sports Illustrated has a 3rd round grade on him. It is possible that no RBs will be 1st rounders this year. So, if Hull were a 3rd rd pick, he might end up as a top 5 RB in this draft. Besides SI, the other boards have Hull as a late rounder or an UDFA. Does SI see something in Hull that all the other draft boards don't? Or is Hull just a fringe prospect?
Name: Evan Hull. Nicknamed "Incredible Hull". Redshirt Junior. Turns 23 years old next October.
Size: Listed at 5'11'' tall, 210 pounds. Per SI, 5'10'' tall, 216 pounds, 9 1/8'' hands, 30 1/8'' arms, 73 7/8'' wingspan, 4.55 sec (40 time).
Was the 4th string RB in 2020 and averaged 8.4 yards per carry. In the shortened 2020 season, Rashawn Slater (the 13th overall pick in the 2021 draft) elected not to play for NW, which was a good thing for opponents, because can you imagine Slater and Skoronski (a true freshman in 2020) playing together on the same OL? Cam Porter and Isaiah Bowser were the top 2 RBs for NW in 2020. Bowser later transferred to UCF and is graded by Sports Illustrated as a 7th round prospect in this year's draft.
Porter was the projected starter for 2021, but he suffered a serious season ending knee injury (ACL and meniscus) in training camp. Hull stepped into the starter's job and quietly had a very good season. In 2022, Porter was the backup and only averaged 3.3 yards per carry with 286 rushing yards.
2021: 196-1,009-7 (5.1 ave) rushing, 33-264-2 receiving, 1 fumble
2022: 221-913-5 (4.1 ave) rushing, 55-546-2 receiving, 3 fumbles
5 career fumbles on 582 total touches, a fumble every 116 touches, an average rate.
9 KR attempts in 2022, with 20.1 yard average, long of 25 yards.
Engaged to be married next summer to longtime girlfriend from HS. Religious, calm personality. Declared for draft. I couldn't find any information regarding any serious injuries suffered by Hull.
Sports Illustrated says he's a dense ball of muscle, jitterbug feet, fluid in tight spaces, scheme versatile, soft hands as receiver. Had dominant OL, run heavy scheme.
ESPN not ranked
NFLdraftcoutdown (Shane Hallam) 19th RB, 194th overall (6th rd)
Drafttek 27th RB, 311st overall (UDFA)
NFLdraftbuzz not ranked among 47 RBs
NFLmockdraftdatabase sim 21st RB, 260th overall (late 7th to UDFA)
PFN sim 27th RB, 317th overall (UDFA)
SI 3rd rd grade
Game is polished and consistent. Coaches likely will appreciate his attention to detail and football IQ. Intelligent, was good student in HS.
Has experience with both zone and gap scheme runs.
Solid running instincts. Reads blocks as he approaches the line and makes sound decisions and adjustments. Runs with forward lean. On short 4th down play, the defensive front beats the OL, clogging up the middle. Hull has to cutback, but there is a completely unblocked DB waiting for him. Hull makes a subtle adjustment to his angle and breaks the tackle, not only picking up the first down, but also adding some extra yards.
Able to dodge defenders in the backfield to avoid potential TFLs. Good spatial awareness with 6th sense for penetrating defenders, reacts in time to make a move. Stop and start ability if defender is right in his face. Balanced when making cuts.
Sufficient burst around corner or on screen passes to generate chunk plays. Able to pull away from slower defenders.
Capable hands catching the ball. Caught passes that were behind him or wide of the target. Tracks ball with his eyes when running downfield on wheel route. Lined up often in slot. Ran a variety of basic routes. When safety outlet, has feel for moving to present himself as target for the QB. Got away from LB in coverage with a stutter step fake.
Good at maintaining disguise of screen passes, acts like he's blocking and doesn't tip off the screen too early.
Solid awareness as pass blocker. Goes through blocking progressions with his eyes in timely manner, makes post-snap adjustments. Willing pass blocker. Steps up to meet LB blitzes. RB is to L of the QB, LB comes on A gap blitz to the right of the C and the C is already occupied by a DT. Hull sees what is happening and instead of releasing into the flat, he goes back in the other direction, crosses in front of the QB and cut blocks the LB in the midsection, preventing a sack.
Covers the ball up with 2 hands in traffic and when he anticipates a hit coming.
Carries out fakes with good deception.
His OL might have been better in 2021, but I didn't think the blocking was that impressive in 2022. Notice his YPC went down by a full yard in 2022.
Has some KR experience.
Had very little help at NW in 2022. The leading receiver had less than 700 yards and Hull was the 2nd leading receiver way ahead of the 3rd place guy. NW as a team had 10 passing TDs and 17 INTs. Quite a few times in the games I watched, by the time Hull went out from the backfield and made his break, the QB was already under pressure and had no time to throw a pass towards Hull.
Normal age for a draft prospect.
Not a dangerous or dynamic player. Maybe he's steady, but he's not a playmaker.
Below average size and bulk. Lacks power and running strength. Doesn't carry enough momentum as he gets to the line. Too frequently finishes runs getting driven backwards. Weak stiff arm, not a great tackle breaker. Gets stoned by defenders in the hole, forward progress completely halted, not able to drive forward for any YAC. On what should have been an easy 4th and short conversion, he got hit near the LOS and only was able to manage a minimal gain instead of being able to fall forward and power through the contact.
Average athlete lacking explosiveness. Not a leaper for high passes. Average effective catch radius.
Loses speed when making cuts.
One speed runner. Doesn't have great burst when there is an open lane. Seems to know speed limitations, because he takes very conservative angles on open field breaks, going wider than necessary to go around defenders instead of cutting directly upfield.
Not as dangerous receiver as his receiving stats would lead you to believe. Doesn't have sudden feet. Not deceptive or able to create great separation from defenders. Dull breaks on routes. Some catches were against soft coverage or blown coverage assignments. No explosion out of his break on a pivot route.
Inconsistent hands, almost like his hands are smaller than measured size. Dropped pass right in his chest. Dropped pass that was to his backshoulder. Doesn't have strong hands when catching to snatch the ball out of the air and hold it through contract or pull it away from defender.
Average speed releasing out of the backfield.
Gets overpowered as pass blocker, insufficient bulk, length and play strength. Makes weak chip blocks. Often resorts to cut blocks.
Right hand dominant. Frequently doesn't switch the ball to his left hand when going towards the left side of the field. Ball not tight to chest if he's not anticipating contact. Fumbled right at the GL trying to score potential tying TD right at the end of game in 2022.
Appears to have slightly short legs. On lateral moves he has limited cut jump range and takes short steps.
If it weren't for the injury to Cam Porter, Hull possibly never would have become the starter at NW. Maybe he would have transferred or just been the 2nd string RB.
Low ceiling. Even if he made a roster, I don't project him to ever become more than a depth piece, a 3rd or 4th string RB type.
Draft Grade and Pro Comparison
UDFA (Jake Funk, 7th round 2021, Rams, Maryland)
Evan Hull isn't great at any particular area of the game. He a jack of all trades, but master of none prospect. On the other hand, he doesn't have a huge flaw either. Across the board in every single category, Hull is at least "adequate". Many of Hull's peers in the late round or UDFA range have at least one big weakness (e.g. they fumble too much, they have no value on 3rd down, they're too small, they can't play special teams, they are injured or injury prone, they have unreliable character and professionalism.) Hull at least has a fighting chance to stay in the NFL, but to me he's "just another guy" and there's nothing special about him that would make me want to use a draft pick to acquire him, even a 7th rounder.
Funk tore his hamstring in the middle of his rookie year, they was waived by the Rams in the middle of his 2nd season. He is currently on the PS for the Colts, his 3rd NFL team. Funk had a bad medical history, with multiple serious knee injuries in college, but in terms of pure football talent, I think Funk was a better prospect than Hull and if the 2 RBs were in the same draft class, I would go with Funk. That's why I put Hull in the UDFA range.