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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB JaQuan Hardy

  • The Draft Network
  • January 22, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY – JAQUAN HARDY

One of the more dynamic players in all of the Division II ranks during his career, JaQuan Hardy was one of the best players in Tiffin program history. Tying the Great Midwest Conference rushing record (1,554 yards) during his final season, Hardy quickly became a notable small school name. Containing a low and compact build, he has managed to stand out from the competition. With a patient game overall, he’s been able to have success in a mixture of run game concepts. While not possessing many speed gears, he’s been able to find his comfort zone in a moderate tempo that encompasses lots of contact balance that consistently enables him to break tackles. Hardy has low reception numbers, but he’s a three-down threat that shows comfort with catching the ball when it comes in his direction.

Ideal Role: Developmental No. 3 RB in committee.

Scheme Fit: Versatile.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Walsh (2019), Lake Erie (2019), Findlay (2019), Hillsdale (2019), Ohio Dominican (2019)

Best Game Studied: Findlay (2019), Ohio Dominican (2019)

Worst Game Studied: Saginaw Valley (2019)

Vision: A patient runner, he’s efficient across the board with multiple schemes. The Tiffin offense incorporated a mixture of zone and man/gap schemes. Hardy showed comfort in both. He has the skill set that translates well to each system because of his reliance on patience and utilizing his contact balance with a compact frame.  

Footwork: Hardy’s game involves little wasted motion. Every cut has a purpose and there’s hardly ever a situation where he's doing something just to be doing so. Low-level side steps and jump cuts are frequent with little wasted operation time. Effective and efficient movements are often seen throughout his collegiate career.  

Contact Balance: With a low to the ground and compact build, Hardy is able to weather the elements and brush off immediate contact as a result. With plenty of layers to take on the contact, his body armor enables him to engulf the contact and continue on with his running process.  

Durability: A lead back and one of the more explosive weapons in Division II. Week in and week out he was able to sustain consistency.

Explosiveness: Hardy doesn’t possess the consistent push-the-gas-and-accelerate type of right-now speed. He's more of a smooth runner that can glide at one tempo when operating out in space. He's a one-gear runner that has perfected that speed. Operating in that mode, he also deploys an effective stiff-arm with both arms that has been plenty effective for him. 

Versatility: Even though he wasn’t afforded many opportunities to show off his ability in the passing game, when he had the ball thrown into his direction, he showed to have reliable hands. There were few challenges with catching the ball, as he also displayed physicality as a pass protector. Hardy doesn’t have any experience as a return specialist. 

Elusiveness: Containing well above average hip mobility, he’s able to unlock his hips and move in desired directions. His package includes frequent jump stops prior to sticking his foot in the ground and running vertically. He's a well above average side to side mover because of his unique ability to twist and turn his hips into all directions. 

Ball Security: Hardy carries the ball high, tight, and close to his breastplate. Only recording one fumble during the 2019 season (Alderson Broaddus), he’s shown that he’s a consistent carrier of the ball with little concern about him putting it on the ground. 

Passing Down Skills: Even though he wasn’t a popular option in the passing game, he’s a running back that’s a great case study for the "even though they weren’t involved heavily in the passing attack, that doesn’t mean they can’t catch" theory. When targeted, Hardy showed to be comfortable with catching the ball out of the backfield. There’s plenty more meat on the bone of him as a pass-catcher, but the potential and involvement haven’t been tapped into yet because of how busy he was as a rusher. He was plenty physical as a pass protector. He understands how to initiate contact and run his feet soon after.

Discipline: Understanding down and distances is an area that Hardy must become more aware of. Because of his success and often being the best player on the field on a weekly basis, he can try to be a bit of a hero too much. Staying on course with runs instead of trying to retreat and circle the defense in hopes of his athleticism eventually taking over will benefit him—he has moments where he tries to do the latter too much. 

Prospect Comparison: Late-career Kenjon Barner (2013 NFL Draft, Carolina Panthers)

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Jordan Reid: 72/100

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