Heading into the 2022 NFL draft, Iowa State running back Breece Hall is arguably the top prospect at his position. While we don’t yet know if he’ll have success if the pros, his family tree may give a hint. If Hall can be half as successful as his cousin, San Francisco 49ers legend Roger Craig, the NFL team that draft gets him will be pretty happy.
Breece Hall is a top RB prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft no longer values running backs like it used to. That means that Iowa State Cyclones RB Breece Hall won’t come off the board until late in the first round or even in Round 2. However, he is an incredible prospect who could become an All-Pro someday.
As a freshman at Iowa State, Hall carried the ball 186 times or 897 yards and nine touchdowns, per Cyclones.com. As good as that was, it wasn’t until his sophomore and junior seasons that he became one of the best bell-cow backs in the country.
His 2020 and 2021 seasons were remarkably consistent. His stat lines those two years in Ames, Iowa, looked like this:
- 2020: 279 carries, 1,572 yards, 21 TDs, 23 catches, 180 yards, two TDs
- 2020: 253 carries, 1,472 yards, 20 TDs, 36 catches, 302 yards, three TDs
After three seasons, the 5-foot-11, 217-pound ball carrier declared for the NFL draft. Hall’s production and his 4.39 40-yard dash speed made him the favorite to be the first RB drafted in 2020. He’s such a high-quality NFL prospect that NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats give him a 99 grade.
All this won’t come as a huge surprise when you learn more about Hall’s family.
Hall comes from an athletic family that includes San Francisco 49er great Roger Craig
Breece Hall was born in Omaha, Nebraska, before moving to Wichita, Kansas, where he went to high school and became a 247Sports four-star recruit.
His exposure started young, as his stepfather is former Nebraska Cornhusker running back Jeff Smith, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1985-88, per WOWT 6.
Hall also has several cousins who are tremendous athletes. Hunter Sallis was a five-star basketball recruit and just finished his freshman season at Gonzaga. Another cousin, AJ Rollins, plays tight end for Nebraska and is heading into his sophomore season.
Hall’s most famous cousin, though, is none other than San Francisco 49ers’ great Roger Craig. That is the cousin who the NFL team that takes Hall in the 2022 NFL Draft hopes he most resembles because Craig had an incredible NFL career.
Roger Craig is a San Francisco 49ers legend
In a reversal of his cousin Breece Hall’s life, Roger Craig was raised in Davenport, Iowa, before attending Nebraska for college. After four years as a Husker, the San Francisco 49ers picked the running back No. 49 overall in the second round of the 1983 NFL draft.
Craig went on to play eight seasons in San Fran before spending a year with the Los Angeles Raiders and two with the Minnesota Vikings.
As a 49er, Craig made four Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team, won the 1988 Offensive Player of the Year Award, and lifted three Lombardi Trophies. He ended his career in 1993 with 1,991 rushes for 8,189 yards, 566 catches for 4,911 yards, and 73 total touchdowns.
While Craig isn’t quite a Hall of Famer, Pro Football Reference rates him as the 11th most valuable player in 49ers franchise history. That’s because his skill and versatility as a runner and a receiver were unique in the 1980s. It also made him the perfect RB for Bill Walsh’s revolutionary (at the time) West Coast offense.
Craig was as much a key ingredient to the 49ers’ ’84, ’88, and ’89 Super Bowls as Joe Montana or Jerry Rice (for the latter two).
Now, nearly four decades after Craig went in the second round of the NFL draft and helped change the league, Hall hopes to do the same.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference