Pros- He has good size, speed, quickness and power along with good vision. He does not wow you in any one respect except for maybe his toughness as a runner. I did not see him run out of bounds once, and he runs hard between the tackles. He does not go down to arm tackles, and has the strength and leg drive to push a pile at times. He is a good North-South runner and does not dance around in the backfield much. He is good at finding a seam or a cutback lane, planting and bursting into the hole. He is a patient back but once he finds a seam he will plant and go.
Cons- I am not sure how good of a receiver he is out of the backfield as he regularly came out on 3rd and long situations, which also casts doubt on how good of a pass blocker he is. That can be coached, but it still warrants consideration. Hardesty isn’t a home run hitter, and if I had to guess I’d say he has 4.5-4.55 speed on the field. He has a decent burst to hit the hole and accelerates to his speed fairly quickly, but he doesn’t have an extra gear to make him a threat to take one to the house when he gets into the open field.
Overall: Hardesty is a workhorse back that does a good job of wearing a defense down until he can take advantage and break off a big chunk of yardage on a run. He won’t break a 60 yard run and outrun a defense, but he can run between the tackles effectively and gain consistent amounts of yardage due to his vision and his decent burst to hit a hole or a seam when he finds one. He gets all he can on every play and regularly turns potential losses into no gains or short gains. He does the little things as a runner, and that will make him a valuable workhorse back. I can see him being a 1,000 yard rusher and a guy who can finish at the goalline, but he isn’t a flashy back by any means. If he were to be paired with a speedster who could threaten a defense with big gains whatever team has them could have a very nice running back duo on their hands. Hardesty will wear a defense down, that’s for sure. He runs very tough. I think Hardesty has starting potential in the NFL, but I don’t think he will ever be anything better than a good NFL running back.
Projection: 3rd round: There is a bit of a glut of running backs who could go in this range, but Hardesty is a guy who can be a workhorse back in the NFL in my opinion and with a complementary home-run threat he could help form a very good running back tandem. So for a team looking for a workhorse I think Hardesty will find a home in the 3rd round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average,4-very good, 5-elite
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