Backyard Baller: Justin Hardy Combine Review

 Justin Hardy

The Man with the Golden Gloves attended the NFL Combine and performed well Saturday.  Never acclaimed as a blazer, Hardy packed his lunch pail and ran a respectable 4.56 40-yd dash. As expected, he showed off those golden gloves, dominating the gauntlet and making some pretty spectacular catches in the route drills. He showed quick feet in the 3 cone drill and showed off his strength on the bench.  None of these numbers are going to dominate the combine  discussion.  What the measurables do show is that he is athletic enough to produce for a NFL team.  

Hardy won't be the deepburner that looks sexy at this point of the scouting process.  What he can be is a strong possession receiver that can generate quick speed on interior routes.  The 3-cone drill and 20 yard shuttle show how he will get the separation.  Most importantly, when moving through traffic, you won't have to be concerned with Hardy coming down with the ball.  Those big hands in the golden gloves with what looks like bananas fingers will make him a reliable receiving target.  

Expect Hardy to pack his lunch and come to work each week.  He's versatile enough to be helpful on special teams, returning punts throughout his career at ECU.  He's known as a hard-nosed blocker, a characteristic often overlooked and underappreciated. He comes back at the ball tremendously well, and has a smooth, fluid body control that allows him to readjust when tracking errant throws.