Defensive End Greg Hardy- #86 Ole Miss
Pass Rush/Closing ability/Moves and counter moves: An above average quickness and first step, but not as elite as some are reporting. Has better acceleration than burst. Has the strength to drive the blocker and collapse the pocket. Good upper-body strength that results in a very powerful bull rush. Doesn’t show many moves to the outside (no spins). Fails to set up the tackle. Could benefit from NFL coaching. Quick hands. Has a good slap.
Pursuit/Lateral movement and agility: Has improved during the 2009 season and looks to be his formally aggressive self. Will run down the ball and has the speed to make plays in space. Tenacious. A very good athlete for his size and the position. Fits the new breed of athletic ends with great size and strength. Reminds you of Mario Williams in this regard. Has played wide receiver some during his college career (3 TD catches).
Quickness/Explosion: An incredible ability to collapse the pocket. Hardy has a great first step- very quick, strong and aggressive. Appears to have regained the burst he showed before an injury all but ended his ’08 season. Looks to be full-strength again.
Run defend/Recognition: Can beat the tackle outside the ball. Gets to the sideline and forces the ball back to the middle. Shows very good effort in down field pursuit. Has the strength to anchor against the off-tackle run. Can hold up and control the tackle. Will see the cut block coming and avoid it. Closes from behind well with good speed. Can make plays on runs where the ball is away.Reads and reacts well. This is an underrated aspect of Hardy. Most will comment on his strength and pass-rushing ability, but he does a great job of recognizing the draw and play action. Is a disciplined player who sticks to the assignment.
Size/Length/Hand size: Hardy is underrated in terms of strength. Has great full-body strength to anchor, bull rush, hold his ground and make tackles in traffic.
Strength/Ability to shed blocks: Is better at using his speed and agility to out-maneuver defenders. Does not have the strength to bull rush or over-power tackles. Does a great job of keeping outside contain and can fight off blocks with his hands. Is a fighter with his arms and hands.
Tackling: Can be an explosive tackler in the open field. Comes down on QBs with a vengeance. Will accelerate to and through the tackle. Has great range and will run down the ball. Has the strength to make one-armed tackles.
Technique/Hand use/Leverage: Has clean technique in all aspects of the game. His first step is quick and strong, but could be faster. He anchors well, gaining leverage on the tackle at the point of attack. Could do a better job setting up the tackle to the inside and countering with an outside move. Doesn’t show many moves as a pass rusher, but those will come. Great use of his hands. Gets good leverage at the point of attack. Has the required upper and lower-body strength to hold his ground. Gets lower than the blocker and uses his arms to push and drive the tackle back.
Versatility: Will fit best as a right end in an aggressive 4-3 scheme. He could be used on the left side, but will be a force as a right end. Could bump down the under tackle in passing situations if needed.
Final Word: Has battled injuries throughout his career. Durability might be an issue. Didn’t start during the 2008 season after surgery on his left foot. Has been bothered by this surgery. Missed the end of the ’09 season with a broken wrist. Has never completed a full season. If Hardy can remain healthy, he has the potential to be an elite pass rusher in the 3-4 or 4-3 defense.