IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys spent all day Wednesday securing the services of one of the better defensive ends in the NFL. Greg Hardy has tallied 27 sacks in his last 32 games, and he provides the front seven with the Pro Bowl-caliber pass rusher that was missing in 2014.
Hardy rose out of the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft – he was the 179th overall pick – to become one of
the better defensive ends in football. With that in mind, the two co-hosts of "The Draft Show," Bryan Broaddus and Dane Brugler, have provided in-depth scouting reports of Hardy's pro and college tape.
First up is Broaddus, who scouted film from Hardy's fantastic 2013 season in Carolina, followed by Brugler's evaluation of Hardy coming out of Ole Miss after the 2009 season.
Games Studied: Carolina '13 against Seattle, New England, New York Giants, San Francisco
- Plays the game with a great deal of passion and emotion. Is non-stop in the way he attacks the ball, whether it is run or pass. See him as a right defensive end in this scheme but has played on the left side as well. Lines up as an under-tackle in certain pass rush packages.
- Will play with his hand on the ground the majority of the time but there is also snaps where he will rush from a two point stance on his feet. Could see that they were trying to match him up with blockers that he could take advantage of. In the Patriots matchup, Nate Solder was giving him some problems so they kicked him over to the other side and took some shots against Marcus Cannon. Similar to what we have seen with DeMarcus Ware during his career in Dallas.
- Outstanding short area quickness and burst. Really comes out of his stance when the ball is snapped. Plays with range, especially when the ball goes away from him. Can really run from the backside. Natural change of direction and balance.
- I would not say that he has remarkable upper body strength, because there were snaps where, unless he was able to get his hands inside first, shedding blockers was a problem. Where he beats blockers is with that first initial move. Can put them in a bad spot right off the snap. Is consistent in the way he rushes. Comes with counter moves and a plan. Can defeat men one-on-one or handle a double-team and still get pressure.
- Seahawks sent two guys at him all day and he was able to use in and out moves to free himself. Knows that he needs to be on the move to make things happen. There are snaps where you see the blockers over-extended and reaching for him. If blockers don't get their hands on him quickly, he is around the edge instantly. Can really bend and finish once he captures the edge. When he sinks his hips, he can burst.
- If he is a position to bring the ball carrier or the quarterback down, he can wrap up and get them to the ground. Only observed one snap where a ball carrier got out of his grasp and after the play he knew it.
- Until the league gives the club the notification of Hardy's potential suspension, it is most likely that he will start at right defensive end, which means that they could shift DeMarcus Lawrence to the left side. I am hearing that there is a belief with the way he showed up playing the run his rookie season that he could make the transition to that spot.
Brugler's report from 2010
A versatile pass rusher, Greg Hardy wasn't a top recruit out of high school and enrolled at Mississippi where his father played defensive end. He started nine games as a true freshman and recorded 49 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks to earn Freshman All-American honors. Hardy had his breakout season as a sophomore in 2007, leading the SEC with 10.0 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, earning First Team All-SEC honors. He struggled with injuries in 2008, playing in just nine games, but still led the Rebels with 8.5 sacks to earn Second Team All-SEC honors. Hardy had off-season surgery and decided to return to school for his senior season, but re-aggravated his foot injury in a car accident before the 2009 season. He played in nine games as a senior and finished his senior year with 16 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks.
Excellent size with a tall, thick frame. Above average athlete with good quickness off the snap. Brute strength with desired bulk and power. Disruptive with a natural feel for pass rush moves, putting pressure on the backfield. Shows awareness and the change of direction ability to play in space and close quickly on the play. Rangy and shows the agility to drop. Productive career with 26.5 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss.
Has missed a lot of time over his career due to injuries, most notably his wrist and right foot (fifth metatarsal). Also missed time due to suspension resulting from effort issues and run-ins with the coaching staff. Doesn't play with a stout anchor and can get pushed back in the run game. Relies too much on physical ability and shows several flaws fundamentally. Known to disappear from games and was part of a heavy rotation most of his career.
A former basketball star, Hardy is a question mark because he flashes outstanding natural talent as a pass rusher, but his lack of durability and motor are red flags for NFL teams. He is fluid and shows the quick step and power to make a living in the backfield, but his up-and-down career was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play. Hardy is a first round talent that warrants fourth round consideration because of his questionable character (both personal and football character), projecting as a boom-or-bust prospect.
40-yard dash: 4.96
10-yard split: 1.80
Bench press: 21
Broad Jump: 9'9"
Short Shuttle: 4.65
3-Cone Drill: 7.25
Hands: 9 3/4"
Additional notes from Greg Hardy NFL Combine interview:
Regarding his 2007 suspension: "I had a small incident with my coaches and class and practice issues. It's all resolved and in the past. It was a learning experience."
Moving from receiver to defensive end at Ole Miss: "Coming in, I was only 235 pounds. My sophomore year, I was at 245. I caught a couple touchdowns my freshman and sophomore seasons, played both ways and got a couple sacks. So it was all a progression on both sides of the ball."
Lack of consistency: "I wouldn't say it's a lack of consistency question. I get the 'why wasn't I playing more' question a lot. It's just one of those things with the injury. A lot of misfortune, but it's simply answered by opportunity and optimization. I feel like I get that a lot."