Quietly, Marcus Hardison impressed after notching 10 sacks in his final year at Arizona State.
Within the draftsphere, Marcus Hardison was unknown entering the 2014 season. Then, the JUCO transfer burst onto the scene throughout his two-year tenure in Tempe. Hardison found himself in a situation he went on to fully take advantage of as the anchor of ASU's defensive line. Now, with the NFL Draft around the corner, the former Sun Devil hopes he's proven he can offer those same characteristics to NFL teams.
Weight: 307 pounds
College Career: After a move from quarterback to defensive line during his high school career, Hardison began his college career at Dodge Community College before coming to ASU in 2013. As a junior he recorded just five tackles in 13 games. As a senior, he recorded 54 tackles, including 15 for a loss (team-high) and 10 sacks (tied for 15th in the nation). He earned all-Pac-12 Honorable Mention for his play.
Strengths: Hardison is an interesting prospect to say the least. He racked up the numbers due to his play, which is based in his athletic ability. Hardison spent much of his time as a starter positioned as a wide 9-tech and 5-tech defensive end. He has a great first step, which he used often to get a beat on tackles to get around them before using a very impressive shoulder dip and rip, which he displayed throughout the year.
He utilized that move when attacking interior linemen as well and was able to find success in wreaking havoc in the backfield due to it.
At 6-foot-4, 307 pounds, he has the size to potentially play as an interior lineman, but his agility and athleticism makes him versatile enough that he can dominate from the end, too.
Weaknesses: Hardison tends to wiff on tackles when it appears as though he has a ball carrier wrapped up.
If he plans on every playing within the interior of a defensive line, he'll have to consistently wrap up and tackle, rather than lunging his shoulder down or only reaching out. He's shown he's capable of it, too. For example:
Hardison's totals were impressive, but one can only imagine how much better they would have been had be been a more consistent tackler.
Outlook: Hardison should be a very appealing prospect based on his versatility and his noticeable talent, albeit raw. He would be a great option to have spell starters initially in his career because of the multiple positions he could man. His potential is something that has intrigued scouts throughout the draft season, and even had some curious as to whether or not he was playing in his best position. A move to a 3-4 scheme where he filled in as one of the bookend defensive tackles may benefit him in the pros.
Round Projection: mid-3rd/early 4th round
Prediction: Round 3, Pick 23 (87 overall), Pittsburgh Steelers