NFL Draft Profile: East Carolina WR Justin Hardy


NFL Draft Profile: East Carolina WR Justin Hardy

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of 200 prospects, including what the scouts around the league are saying and video interviews with each player.

Justin Hardy (WR), East Carolina

5’10” | 192 lbs.

2014 stats:

121 rec, 1494 yards, 10 TD


3rd-4th round

What scouts are saying:

"Hardy consistently attacks his on-field responsibility with urgency and aggressiveness and he's a very reliable target. With more teams running the ball out of three-WR sets, some coordinators will see value in the way Hardy gets after run-blocking assignments. Hardy must prove that he has the quickness to get separation out of his breaks." -'s Lance Zierlein

"Not an elite speed player, but accelerates well with subtle quickness off the line of scrimmage to shake press. Intuitive target and finds soft coverages to exploit defenses. Excellent depth in his routes and works back to the ball, always trying to get open. Terrific job with body fakes to sell patterns. Quick footwork with concentration through the process, showing the ability to refocus on the move. Natural ballskills with sticky hands and a large catching radius, attacking the ball, not allowing it to come to him. Quick-thinker and has his next move figured out before the catch. Not content with just catching the ball and took advantage of catch-and-go designed plays in college. Tracks well with easy adjustments. Plays with urgency and competes on each snap, finishing runs and improvising when needed. High football intelligence. Heady and willing blocker and more than adequate in this area. Primary punt return duties the last three seasons (63/495/7.9). Soft-spoken, but confident and always trying to prove himself. Consistent workmanlike effort with meticulous practice habits. The most productive receiver in FBS history with a record 387 career catches and his 4,541 receiving yards ranks third all-time in FBS history." - CBS Sports' Dane Brugler

Fit for the Bears:

In a draft that is loaded with talent at receiver, Hardy hasn't gotten a lot of publicity. But the former East Carolina star posted big numbers in 2014 and could be a steal in the middle rounds for the Bears. While he doesn't have elite size or speed, Hardy is reliable and runs great routes. He could compete for the outside spot opposite of Alshon Jeffery in 2015 and make an impact right away. If the Bears whiff on some of the top receiving targets in the draft, expect Ryan Pace to target Hardy on either Day 2 or Day 3. 

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The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

The Bears have the top-ranked defense in Madden 20, plus other takeaways from today's ratings reveal

A boatload of Madden ratings dropped on Monday, and with it, more content than you could shake a stick at. 

The Bears, predictably, got a fair bit of love on the defensive side of the ball and were largely ignored on offense. 

No Fangio, No Problem

For a wide variety of reasons, it's trendy to point out that the Bears' defense is headed for some regression this season. Madden disagrees, though, rating the Bears defense (88) as the best in football. They did also give the Houston Texans' defense an 88 as well, but never let the details get in the way of a good story. Here's what they said: 

For Chicago, the unit is fronted by 99 Club member, LOLB Khalil Mack. FS Eddie Jackson (91 OVR) is a Superstar X-Factor like his teammate, Mack. That’s a scary combination for any opposing quarterback. Toss in CB Kyle Fuller (89 OVR) and you can see why this Bears unit should roar out of the gate in Madden 20. 

Year 2 Mitch Doesn't Get Any Love 

Trubisky was rated as the 24th best QB, which is already being debated passionately, regardless of how debatable it actually is. What's lowkey worse is that Chase Daniel, the 9-year NFL vet, got the same rating as Dax Raymond, the undrafted free agent. 

May We Remind You That Khalil Mack Is A Terrific Football Player 

Earlier in the month, Mack was revealed as one of the 4 players who received the infamous 99 rating. That means he's also the top-ranked LOLB, two points ahead of Denver's Von Miller and 16 points ahead of any NFC North LOLB. Enjoy those draft picks, Oakland! 

Akiem Hicks Gets Snubbed And Frankly We've Just About Had It 

Hicks was ranked as the 19th-best defensive lineman, which is just objectively untrue. In some alternate universe, there may be 18 better defensive linemen than Akiem Hicks, but that is just simply inaccurate in this one. He was heated about his rating, and we cannot blame him. 

The Lowest Ranked Bears Player Was ... 

Patrick Scales. Sorry Patrick Scales.

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

Akiem Hicks not happy with Madden 20 ratings: ‘Tell them to come see me’

EA Sports released the full Madden 20 player ratings for every team in the NFL, and not everyone was happy with the numbers they received.

The Bears shared a video of backup quarterback Chase Daniel revealing ratings to his teammates, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks seemed the most upset of the group.

“Bring some of the scouts out here doing the madden ratings,” Hicks said. “Tell them to come see me.”

Hicks received an overall rating of 87, tied for fourth-highest on the team and 10th-highest among defensive ends.

He has the same rating as Green Bay Packers DE Mike Daniels and Detroit Lions DE Trey Flowers.

In the video, running back Tarik Cohen was disappointed with his 92 speed, which is tied for third-fastest on the team behind wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Emanuel Hall.

Cohen does lead the Bears with 97 agility and 92 elusiveness, but he thought his throwing power stat should be higher than 51 after his two career passing touchdowns.