Justin Hardy: Baltimore Ravens Draft Prospect
Jan 21, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad wide receiver Justin Hardy of East Carolina (82) carries the ball against North squad defensive corner Josh Shaw of USC (16) during North squad Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The draft process for an NFL team is a long and tedious one. Scouts keep their eyes peeled on college players year round even though the actual hype begins shortly after the NFL’s regular season ends. We are headed into full blown draft season, an exciting time that reaches its peak when teams are officially on the clock beginning April 30th.
This year we are tracking every player that the Baltimore Ravens talk to or reportedly show interest in. Whether it be a workout, interview, team visit, or simply a rumored bit of interest, we are going to cover them all. We’ll take a look at each prospect and discuss whether or not that particular player might represent a good pick for the Ravens.
First up is East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy. Hardy interviewed with the Ravens at the Senior Bowl after drawing universal reviews for showing excellent route running skills throughout the week. Though he finished the game with a mere one catch for eight yards, Hardy showed well during one-on-one drills and was clean coming out of his breaks while catching everything thrown his way.
Those hoping the Ravens will draft a big, physical wide receiver will need to keep looking, unfortunately. Justin Hardy stands 5′ 10 1/2″ tall and weighs in at a light 190 pounds. He would need to at the very least add on some weight if he hopes to remain durable at the pro level. Hardy does have good length for his height and has above average hands, however.
Hardy is also an aggressive blocker who fights for first downs, a characteristic evident by the fact that 70% of his catches last season moved the sticks. He has demonstrated the ability to make defenders miss in the open field as well. Hardy’s biggest knocks include his non-special speed, quickness, and explosion, and the fact that he ran a simple route tree at ECU.
For a smallish guy, the lack of speed and explosion is a concern. The numbers, however, are hard to argue with. Hardy finished his career as the FBS all-time leader in catches and won the 2014 Burlsworth Trophy for the nation’s most outstanding player who started his career as a walk on. He improved each season and had a career best 121 receptions for 1494 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014.
Justin Hardy may not have the elite measurables that make NFL scouts drool, but he does have the character and attitude to make it at the next level. His ability to go from walk on to dominant college football player is sure to be appealing, as is his nasty disposition while blocking, a task that many receivers only approach half heartedly.
Do you think the Ravens should draft Justin Hardy?
Next: One Free Agent Receiver the Ravens Could Get For Cheap
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