With the 2015 NFL Draft less than two weeks away, teams in need of slot wide receiver help may look to target former East Carolina standout Justin Hardy.
Hardy, a 6’0 188-pound senior dynamo, caught the most-ever passes in FBS history with 387 receptions, surpassing former Oklahoma standout Ryan Broyles. For the year, Hardy caught 121 passes for 1,494 yards and 10 touchdowns.
A former walk-on at ECU, Hardy would win the Burlsworth Trophy given to the top walk-on in college football.
The main go-to guy for Pirates quarterback Shane Carden, the second-leading passer in the country (4,736), Hardy’s draft day stock continues to rise thanks in large part to the need for small and quick wideouts in the slot.
With the NFL now becoming a passing league straight out of Madden that has gradually shifted away from the Calvin Johnson-esque big body receivers and more towards the Antonio Brown-T.Y. Hilton-like small and agile WR’s, Hardy could find a home for a team in such a need.
While other slight and shifty wideouts such as Tyler Lockett of Kansas State, Stefan Diggs from Maryland and Nelson Agholor out of USC, Hardy stands out due to his sure hands and ability to be a vertical threat out of the slot.
Vastly overlooked because of playing at ECU, Hardy’s 1,494 yards receiving ranked fourth the country behind Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins, Alabama’s Amari Cooper and the fore-mentioned Lockett, while his ten TD’s also ranked among the top 20 nationally.
Based on these analytics, the big play potential is there in Hardy, and for a prospective team to grab a real late-round gem, as he averaged 114.9 yards per game—good for sixth in the country.
Whichever team ends up with the former Pirate, will have unearthed a real draft-day treasure.