Scouting Report: Justin Hardy, WR

Could the Patriots be in the market for a WR in these year's draft?

Could the Patriots be in the market for a WR in these year’s draft?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Could this week go any slower?  Waiting for the Super Bowl to get here while trying to avoid anymore “deflategate” talk has been exhausting.  Thankfully, there are hundreds of hours of film that still need to be watched and reports like this one to be written.  I will be honest, my intention was not to watch wide receivers today, and Hardy was certainly not the guy I thought I would be writing about tonight.  He was a guy I didn’t know a whole lot about, but I stumbled on some film of his, and then I decided I needed to watch more.  Next thing you know, I have notes from 7 games, so here is what I saw.Name: Justin Hardy

School: East Carolina University (Sr.)

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 190 Lbs.

 

Positives:

Hardy is a very smooth and fluid athlete.  He plays bigger than his size.  He tracks the ball well and high points the ball nicely.  Hardy is elusive after the catch, showing an ability to weave through traffic.  Dispite his size, he shows toughness and a willingness to fight for extra yards.  He is not afraid to lower his shoulder and hit someone.  Hardy has impressive hands, showing the ability to make difficult catches in traffic and rarely lets the ball get into his body.  Hardy has good field awareness and does a nice job of sitting down in an open zone and make himself a big target.  He shows good quickness at the snap and in his routes.

 

Negatives:

Hardy played in an offense that limited his development from a route running perspective.  He ran a lot of bubble screens and routes in the 7 to 10 yard range.  Hardy looks to be quicker than fast and may struggle to get separation if asked to run more complex routes.  He is not a home run threat and couple that with his size and he is probably limited to the slot at the next level.  Hardy can struggle at times with press coverage when the defender is able to get their hands on him.  In college, he was able to use his superb quickness and burst to beat it in college, but will need to get stronger and use his hands better in the NFL.

 

Overall:

I had a lot of fun watching Hardy.  In my notes, I just kept writing words like: quick, shifty, elusive, fluid, and smooth.  He won’t wow you with his size or speed, but he uses that quickness to his advantage and just made plays.  He made his quarterback look good rather than the other way around.  He seems like a smart player, showing the ability to read the defense and find the open zones.  Obviously the Patriots have a few guys with similar size and skill set, so I am not sure they will be looking to add another one, but they have continued to draft these type of guys over they years, so who knows.  I give Hardy a solid second round grade and if he falls, could be a really nice value.

 

42 Responses to “Scouting Report: Justin Hardy, WR”

  1. charles jr. says:

    we need more depth in the slot… we can’t doend on Amendola and Edelman is a couple hits away from being out of the league….. Amari Cooper is the best fit but since we don’t hve a prayer of drafting him Hardy seems more palpable

  2. Russell says:

    Glad the Patriots got the pick…. Butler could have dropped the ball. A gift from Seattle, guess Sherman won’t have much to say. Time to get ready for the draft, and sign our free agents.

    • Ryan says:

      Or… Time for a Gronk-style house party! Damn that win was amazing and that pick had me literally jumping for joy. Butler deserves some kind of plaque back in Foxborough. Finally, being the best team in the regular season brought the Pats to the top again.

      Free agency and draft prep can wait a week. WE’RE NUMBER ONE!

  3. Ryan says:

    I saw hdpaulie’s post and decided to check out the draft simulator on fanspeak. I found it to be pretty cool and slightly different every time you used it. Here are the two mocks that I got out of it, one using the Fanspeak Big Board and the other using the DraftTV Big Board.

    Fanspeak
    Round 1: DT Malcolm Brown
    Round 2: G Josue Matias
    Round 3: WR Tony Lippett
    Round 4 (TB): OT Daryl Williams
    Round 4: S Ibraheim Campbell
    Round 6 (TB): ILB Trey DePriest
    Round 7 (TEN): WR Jordan Taylor

    DraftTV
    Round 1:OT La’el Collins
    Round 2: WR Nelson Agholor
    Round 3: DE Nate Orchard
    Round 4 (TB): G Josue Matias
    Round 4: DT Kaleb Eulls
    Round 6 (TB): WR Antwan Goodley
    Round 7 (TEN): S Ibraheim Campbell

    I don’t think that the DraftTV Big Board is very current, as I doubt that the players that I grabbed with my first four picks will be available at that slot. The Fanspeak Big Board seemed to make more sense in terms of the order in which players were drafted, except when it came to WR Kevin White and occasionally DT Danny Shelton. Overall, I really liked both mocks in terms of talent and depth, even though our compensatory picks aren’t even factored in yet. Since there aren’t many true needs and there is great depth on the roster, I definitely see us trading up in this draft or into the draft next year.

    And if you couldn’t tell, I really like G Josue Matias and S Ibraheim Campbell.

    • Ryan says:

      As far as my strategy went, I saw D-Line and O-Line as the areas of greatest concern. After that, I looked for falling pass rushers or wide receivers in a very deep draft for both positions. Finally, I looked to add depth at linebacker and a playmaker at safety.

      • acm says:

        Sounds about right. Depending on how the Mayo, Ayers, Casillas situation works out, LB might not be much of a priority, so a CB or a QB could be an option. If they keep Revis, I doubt Dennard stays (iirc, his cap hit for 2015 is expected to be much higher than 2014) and they may consider bringing in a 3rd QB to develop alongside Jimmy G.

        • Ryan says:

          Yeah, if they ditch Dennard a CB is probably a smart investment on day 3 because are is and Browner aren’t exactly young. I feel as though the Pats are better off bringing in a vet or an undrafted rookie for the third QB slot so that they don’t feel obligated to carry three QBs come cut day.

        • Ryan says:

          *are is should be Revis

        • acm says:

          Regarding that 3rd QB. I was considering a situation where they may have a liking for a particular young, talented player who they would bring in and develop, not just make up the numbers for training camp and possibly beyond. You know, along the lines of how Brady himself ended up being their 4th QB 15 some years ago. A guy I have in mind is Sean Mannion (OSU), who possesses different characteristics than Jimmy G.

    • steve earle says:

      See what you mean about DraftTV this doesn’t look very likely. Fanspeak is better though I do wonder it OT Williams will be that far down. I know he’s projected as a RT or G but how do yau feel about that?

      • Ryan says:

        Yeah, I find it more likely that Daryl Williams goes at the end of the third round, but since he is not a likely candidate for LT in the NFL I could see him dropping to the fourth, similar to Cameron Fleming last year. Since we will have Tampa’s high pick in the fourth round, I feel as though it’s possible for us to get Williams at that slot. I thought of this as a scenario within reason where Williams falls a bit from his projected value.

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    Guys, if you’re interested! The college football allstars skills competition is coming on Friday at 6pm est. on ESPN2

  5. hdpaulie says:

    I had some fun with the draft simulator at Fanspeak. I did 2 mocks using 2 different big boards. They’re not very precise, because WR kevin White was available at pick 31 on both mocks. I don’t think there’s any way he’s there. So I passed on him. My draft strategy is to secure a top DL, at least 2 OL picks. I think the Pats need a legit pass rusher either from DE or OLB. RB and WR and CB will depend on how the board plays out. Here are my simulated picks.
    Fanspeak Big Board
    !st round DT Michael Bennett
    2nd round OT Jake Fisher
    3rd round OG Josue Matias
    4th round DE Henry anderson
    4th round RB Telvin Coleman
    6th round OLB Tony Washington
    7th round CB Damian Swan

    Draft TV Big Board
    1st round OT/OG La’el Collins
    2nd round DT Jordan Phillips
    3rd round OT Jake Fisher
    4th round WR Rashard Green
    4th round DE Zadarious Smith
    6th round OLB Zack Hodges
    7th round CB Josh Shaw
    I’m assuming Fisher can play OG as well

    • steve earle says:

      Interesting ! I could live with either of your mocks though I think I like the lower one best because I think Malcom Brown would be a better DT in the 1st. This year the problem is a drop off after the 3rd round so it’s really hard to say where prospects will leave the board. Many projected for a 4th rd won’t go until the 6th and vise versa. We might get some clearifacation after the combine, I hope so but who knows? Still nice job.

    • acm says:

      Not a fan of the first mock. Love the 2nd although I think it’s just not very realistic outside of Hodges and maybe, just maybe Z. Smith, as well.

      DT Bennett is a player very similar to what the Pats already have in last year’s 1st round pick Easley. It’s nice to have tweeners like this but can’t make it the heart of your D (need to stop the run too) and especially not at the price of two 1st round picks on them. I am all for being athletic up front but need some mass too, after all.

      I like Anderson as a character-guy but have concerns about how he translates at DL in the NFL. He lacks athleticism and explosiveness and my guess is functional strength too. Looks built more like an OT than a DT/DE. Wouldn’t mind him as a late pick but early 4th is still too high a price imo.
      Would much prefer Kristjan Sokoli (U of Buffalo) over Anderson, tbh.

      As for the 2nd mock, as I mentioned don’t see it as all that realistic at this point in time. Maybe if someone botches their combine or punches a cop or whatever prior to the draft.

    • jim r says:

      I like the way you approached it. I have been favoring getting DT,OL help early in the draft. Out of the first 5 picks (top 101) they should get 2-OL 1-DT 1-Hybrid DE/OLB. I hope they target a player and use one of those picks to move up in the first or second round (wishful thinking)

  6. Jeff says:

    Who’s the better prospect for the Patriots – Josue Matias or Jake Fischer?

    • steve earle says:

      I like both but to be honest I’d take Fisher I think. Again I want to wait until after the combine to cast that in stone.

    • acm says:

      I like both too. JM would add girth and good feet at RG, while JF would make for a good LG and even LT, imo. I am not convinced by Solder, who’s looked confused and mediocre without the help of a vet LG next to him (first mankins and now Connolly) and lacks than nasty you want in your OL-men. Fisher has plenty of nasty in him.

    • steve earle says:

      Jeff I found some tape on Preston Smith. Go to steelersdepot.com to check it out.

  7. J H TARBORO says:

    Nice article Mike Gerken, Justin Hardy is one of the more complete WRs in this years draft. WRs that could be a good fit in our system:
    WR Kenny Bell- Nebraska
    WR Tyler Lockett- Kansas St.
    WR Antwan Goodley- Baylor ( This kid reminds you of what Josh Boyce could’ve been and should’ve been.)

  8. Russell says:

    Nice job Mr. Gerken. Please take a look at WR Kenny Bell ,Nebraska he’s a guy I’m Mocking early 4th round. Bell is a great route runner, Good hands/ run after catch and maybe the best blocking WR in College football.

  9. Daniel R. Martin says:

    Looking for feedback on pick selection so far, and help filling in the remaining 3rd, 4th and 7th round picks. Thanks.

    1st Round (Assigned) – Trade for early to mid-2nd & 4th Round Picks

    2nd Round (Acquired via trade for 1st Round Pick) – Hau’oli Kikaha OLB
    2nd Round (Assigned) – Tre Jackson OG
    3rd Round (Assigned) – Andy Gallik C/OG

    3rd Round (Projected Compensatory Pick For Aqib Talib) –

    4th Round (Acquired via trade for 1st Round Pick) – Chris Hackett FS
    4th Round (Assigned) – Jessee James TE
    4th Round (Via Trade with TB – Logan Mankins) –

    6th Round (Via Trade with TB – Jonathan Casillas) – Jalston Fowler RB

    7th Round (Via Trade with TEN – Akeem Ayers)
    7th Round (Via Trade with HOU – Ryan Mallett)

    The following pick have been traded away:
    5th Round (for Jonathan Casillas)
    6th Round (for Akeem Ayers)
    7th Round (for Greg Salas)

    • acm says:

      Dan,
      that 7th rounder they got from the Texans for Mallett is for the 2016 draft, iirc, not 2015.

      Also, as some here have implied already, Pats may well not have too many roster spots available, so this year might be a good time to trade up or take BPA.

      As much as I would like to see multiple picks spent on OL, I can’t say I am a fan of either of these two. Don’t think Jackson has the footwork of an early pick, while Galik is on the smaller side for OL-men and Pats need to add some girth up front, as they already have a smaller OG in Wendell. Galik may well be only an OC at the next level. Not saying he can’t possibly play OG but guys as small as him usually need superior technique to survive there in the NFL (e.g. Wendell). Either way, I think 3rd round is too early for him, imo as I see him fall due to his limited size.

      Regarding Kikaha, I think he lacks versatility to be an OLB – limited in dropping back – while may be smallish to only rush the passer. he looks good on college tape, just haveing serious questions regarding his translating that to the NFL. I just don’t see him as special enough and if Pats resign Ayers, he could well be a waste of a pick.

      • Daniel R. Martin says:

        Thanks for the feedback guys. I’ll get to work making appropriate alterations.

        Kikaha I was viewing as a pass rush specialist only. Not a 3 down linebacker Just someone to plug in on obvious passing downs to get after the qb.

        I initially had the Patriots targeting Cameron Erving in the first, but the more players I allocated to the offensive line, the more I realized we were doing nothing to improve the team’s pass rushing ability, which I consider the only marginally weak link on the defense.

        What do you guys think about the TE, FS & FB selections? That FS is REALLY undervalued thus far in the draft, IMO.

        Thanks for the help!

        • J H TARBORO says:

          Dan, here are a few guys to checkout TE,FB, and S
          FB/RB/H-Back Tyler Varga- Yale 5’10 227lbs ( Varga had a great week at the Senior Bowl, he scored twice in the game. Very good pass protector and run blocker, has good hands and runs well.
          FB/RB/H-Back Jalston Fowler- Alabama 5’11 264lbs ( i like this kid a lot, he’s extremely versatile and agile for his size and build, catches well out of the backfield as seen at Senior Bowl practice, and was lead blocker for Lacey and Yeldon at Alabama.
          TE Jean Sifrin – Umass 6’7 250lbs. TE Cameron Clear- Texas A&M
          TE Devin Mahina- BYU TE Eric Tomlinson- UTEP 6’7 270lbs.
          S Eric Dargan-Oregon Donald Celiscar-W.Michigan 5’11 200
          S Keeston Terry- Pitt St. etc.

    • Russell says:

      I agree with amc, the Patriot roster spots will be limited, I’m quessing 6-8 with the Oline leading the way. I think it is very likely that BB trades up to get a player he may like ; Erving, Fowler, Strong, IF reachable on the draft board. If BB keeps the first at #32 then maybe OG-Tomlinson.
      I’m not a fan of Kikaha, maybe Lerenzo Mauldin.
      An Interesting S prospect Keyseon Jarrett in the 6th round.

      • steve earle says:

        I’m surprised you say Tomlinson in 1st Russell. Everything I read has me thinking late 2nd or 3rd. Whats your thinking here?

        • Russell says:

          Well Steve, back in Oct. I had OG Tomlinson as an early pick in my mock for the Patriots. I like the guy, BUT would take Erving over Tomlinson IF available. Tomlinson did very well at the Senior bowl, and I believe improved his stock. IMO by the end of the second round Tomlinson will be off the board, so IF the Patriots go for him they will need to take him in the first.
          I question if BB will go Olineman with the first pick however. I’m wondering if Mayo will return, given his injury/contract. It is doubtful he could be ready to start the season, missing the camp/preseason. BB likes Mayo, I wonder if Mayo takes a coaching role,(LB coach for the Patriots). IF this was to happen, this would save alot of money, but a need for a LB will be important come draft time.
          I could see BB taking a LB type with the first pick, FAR more likely than an Olineman. The guy I like is Lorenzo Mauldin, and draft Olineman later in the draft.

        • steve earle says:

          @ Russell, Agree with your assessment of Erving over Tomlinson and a couple other guys too if there around then. Still if BB wants Tomlinson I believe moving up into mid 2nd rd would allow that and at reasonable price. About LB in your scenario, It would depend greatly on who would be around at 32? I’d still hope for a blue chip o-linemen over most of the LB’s I’d expect to be there then look at our 2nd for LB help. Not knowing how the Mayo thing will play out it’s hard to form a solid plan at this point.

    • Jeff says:

      I think you forgot to tell us who the 3rd round compensatory pick is – I’d go DE with that pick! Also, if you think they’ll re-sign McCourty, they’ll have McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Wilson, and Ebner at safety already – a draft pick may need to wait until some of those contracts come up (Ebner 2016, Wilson 2017, Harmon 2018 line up nicely for some safety selections in the next few drafts). If you think they’ll let him walk, a safety makes sense, although I’m not sure you need another mid round talent to be added to the mix when you have Harmon and Wilson as capable though not elite fill-ins.

      • steve earle says:

        I feel there is a real drop of at S after McCourty and Chung though Jeff. We Know Wilson’s contract runs through 2017 but the guy is a liability on the field. I would hope his cap hit wouldn’t be to bad but I admit I don’t know.

    • steve earle says:

      Well Dan I have to think you are reaching in a few cases and also going where we don’t need to go.
      2a) Really don’t think a LB this early is advisable unless someone who can’t possable be there is there. Suggest better value would be o-line or d linemen, day one starter who plays for 8-10 years at high level. Maybe Kouandjio or Jordan Phillips
      2b) Jackson, to high I think. Again I’d look at o-line or d-line maybe Arie Armstead or Brandon Scherff for examples.
      3) A smallish OC I’m squeamish about anywhere in our draft. I’d still look to need maybe Markus Golden DE with an eye to converting to OLB. Bit of a project there but good talent and excellent pass rusher, Or you could go for a saf like Drummong or Derron Smith. Depending on how top two 2nds go, Ty Sambrallo or Nate Orchard could be considered.
      4ths) Now things get tough. So many guys projected here could slide to 6th rd and unexpected guys could jump up. All depends on your guts I think.
      Thing is, I could be all wrong so probably not much help.

  10. Michael says:

    Sounds like 2009-2012 Julian Edelman with that scouting report.

    • steve earle says:

      Edelman was a QB so don’t see the connection. Can’t possably expect this kid to be another Edelman. He has more a Boyce look though not saying he will or won’t do well.

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