Before 2014, not many NFL scouts were drooling over (or even knew about) defensive lineman Marcus Hardison. In 2011 and 2012 Hardison was building his football resume at Dodge City Community College. In 2013, as a junior, Hardison played at Arizona State University, though sparingly. But in 2014, as a senior, Hardison exploded onto the scene. He compiled 53 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. After a March 6th pro day, in which Hardison continued to show off impressive athleticism and post terrific numbers, it’s safe to say he has plenty of NFL scouts on notice. The Detroit Lions need plenty of defensive line help, so hopefully they have been paying close attention to the former Sun Devil.
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Combine Pro Day Measurables
Weight: 305 pounds
40-yd Dash: high 4.8 to mid 4.9 seconds
20-yd Shuttle: 4.65 seconds
3-Cone Drill: 7.29 seconds
Vertical Jump: Did not participate
Broad Jump: Did not participate
Bench Press: 27 (Combine)
Traits And Projected Round
Hardison has been described as a defensive end in a defensive tackle’s body. At right around 300 pounds, Hardison plays with an explosiveness and quick-twitch movement of a much smaller man. On tape, he shows the versatility to both speed-rush and bull-rush effectively, depending on the situation. Hardison is a difference maker, displaying impressive read-and-react instincts, and a high football IQ, to go along with his impressive athleticism.
His body type and skill-set should allow him to succeed in a variety of schemes, positions, and alignments (along the defensive line). Hardison will have to prove to scouts he is neither a one year wonder nor a tweener (DT/DE) – he made many of his splash plays as an edge rusher, but he will most likely line up as a defensive tackle in the NFL. Before last season, Hardison was a late-round prospect, at best. But with his meteoric rise, he figures to be a third-round selection in the upcoming NFL draft.
Why The Lions Could Draft Marcus Hardison
The Lions have replaced (I use that term loosely) Ndamukong Suh with Haloti Ngata, and they have added Tyrunn Walker to the mix at defensive tackle position as well. However, Ngata and Walker are both (currently) on one year contracts. After losing Nick Fairley in free agency, the Lions still need to add another young-pass rushing defensive tackle to bolster the position. Hardison could be a perfect match for the Lions.
He is certainly a gifted pass rusher, from either the defensive tackle or the defensive end position (the Lions like their defensive ends big and/or tall). Hardison could step right into the Lions defensive tackle rotation, and his versatility should allow him to succeed in a variety of schemes and situations. With talk of the Lions perhaps playing various schemes this season, they would be wise to take a chance on Hardison, and his big play abilities.
Former Lion Comparison: Nick Fairley
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