Time to take a break from this Tim Tebow stuff and get back to what I like doing, that's looking for diamonds in the rough. So far I've done a blog on Devon Wylie WR/KR/RB of Fresno State. Part 2 was Russell Wilson QB from Wisconsin. Part 3 was Sammie Brown OLB from Houston. Now it's time for the super sleeper. Brandon Hardin CB/FS from university of Oregon.
How many of you remember Jason Seyhorn of the Giants? Big playmaker, I believe from UCLA. He tore his achilles and the Giants moved him from corner to free safety and he thrived. He played at a pro bowl level for about 3-5 years, but he never got the credit he deserved after being converted from big corner to free safety. Hold that thought, while I introduce you to Brandon Hardin of Oregon State.Brandon is a Hawaiian guy that played corner back for Oregon State. I don't want to play the race card, but sometimes players of different races don't get the credit they deserve for whatever position they play. Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers) commented that people sleep on him because he is a white wide receiver. Sad to say but it's true. Anyway, Brandon was on his way to being a 3rd round pick with rising stock at the beginning of the 2011 college season when he broke his left shoulder. He didn't play all of last year. Now because of his year off he's slid down from a 3rd round grade to a 7th round grade depending on who you ask. Same guy, just had an injury.
Here's where it gets interesting. Brandon is 6'3 and 219 pounds. He started as a cornerback, but he was so physical and due to injuries he was moved all over the field to free safety by his junior year, and even played gunner on special teams. He is a sledgehammer. This is how a defensive back is supposed to hit.
Oregon State had their pro day last week 3/17. Hardin ran a 4.36 and a 4.40 in the 40. He benched 225 24 times. All this guy needs is a chance. He is a guided missile waiting to go off. He just needs to be molded by a coach with skill at setting up defensive backs in positions where they can make plays. Do we know anyone like that? Do we know a coach that got Drew Coleman 6 sacks, and Donald Strickland to be a sack machine under his tutelage? This guy can be used on special teams, he has the speed to blitz and pummel the quarterback, he has the strength to run over the running back held to protect the backside. Or he can use his speed to drop into coverage and run with tight ends as he did when he was a cornerback at Oregon.
I've seen this guy listed around 10th for teams looking at him as a free safety and around 35th-45th for teams looking at him as a corner. I think he's a late round steal and a versatile option in the pass rush, special teams, and to be groomed as a traditional safety. Remember, this was a 3rd round guy who just had a broken shoulder last year, and he's valued as a 7th rounder. This is a steal waiting to happen. He is a 1 man bounty system. Maybe he just puts money in and pays himself.
Ok. I think that's enough. I could put 10 videos up here, but I think you get the gist. Some people are looking at George Illoka as a free safety possibility. I think Maybe the Jets could look to re-sign Jim Leonhard to a 1 year deal, and look to scoop up Brandon Hardin in the 5th or 6th round with a compensatory pick. While guys like Illoka might take a season or two to develop, Hardin has skills as a blitzer, and special teams guy that could put him on the field from day 1 while he grows into his role as a full time free safety.
This is the Oregon State pro day
Pro Day numbers and additional info can be found here: