Justin Hardy: To Atlanta in the Fourth Round


East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy was drafted with pick number 107 by the Atlanta Falcons. That made him a fourth round selection and the only East Carolina Pirate taken in the draft. That of course brings the total of East Carolina draftees above the combined total of draftees from North Carolina and North Carolina State.

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Hardy continues a story that saw him start as a walk-on receiver at East Carolina to the NCAA all-time receptions leader and to a professional football player. For that moxie alone, the Atlanta Falcons made a good choice. Why couldn’t someone have made that choice a couple rounds sooner?

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But enough with the bellyaching. Hardy landed into a primo spot for him. Atlanta has an established quarterback in Matt Ryan to distribute the ball. They also have a couple of good receivers already in Roddy White and Julio Jones to attract coverage. This will allow Hardy to ply his trade in the midfield, and appear where defenses do not expect him to be.

As an Air Raid receiver, Hardy comes from the same system that put Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, and Michael Crabtree in the NFL. More importantly he catches the football dependably, something that sometimes gets overlooked. In today’s NFL, passing is king and catches are the only way to make that work.

Besides, who doesn’t think that Hardy will put in the necessary work to be good at whatever role the Falcons might put him in. Sure he’s a little undersized, but when has that ever mattered to him in the past.

Hardy does enter the ranks of the drafted alone. His teammate Shane Carden was ultimately not drafted. That does not mean Carden does not have a pro future. The Bears have signed him to a undrafted free agent deal. All you need is a foot in the door sometimes.

Next: Daryl Williams: Panthers 4th Round Pick