Eagles Draft Profile: East Carolina WR Justin Hardy
Nov 22, 2014; Greenville, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates wide receiver Justin Hardy (2) and head coach Ruffin McNeill celebrate his record breaking catch during the 2nd quarter timeout against the Tulane Green Wave at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy was nice enough to take some time out of his busy schedule while training for the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine and answer some questions for me here at Inside the Iggles. Hardy talks about his college career, experience at the Senior Bowl, the next step at the combine and his potential fit with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Q: You have had an interesting path to this point since you were a walk-on at East Carolina University. Describe your journey up until this point in your career for those that may not know much about you.
A: Well I had one offer out of high school and that was a D2 offer to Fayetteville State University. ECU was going through a coaching change and Coach Ruff [Ruffin McNeill] and the new staff came in and seen my film. After that they got in contact with my high school coach who contacted me and told me ECU wanted me to walk on cause they didn’t have any more scholarships available. I walked in and earned my scholarship my 2nd semester and now the rest is history.
Q: As a former walk-on who now holds the all-time FBS record for career receptions with 387, how does it feel to be taking this next step to the NFL? Did you ever think this would would be a possibility when you first started at ECU?
A: It feels great. Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a professional athlete. I set goals to help me get to that point. I didn’t go into ECU trying to make it to the NFL from the beginning, my goal was to earn a scholarship and do whatever I could do to make an impact to help my team win.
Q: How was your experience at the Senior Bowl? Did you take in or learn anything specific from the coaches or players around you at the Senior Bowl?
A: My experience was great. Getting a chance to see how an NFL coaching staff operates to competing with the other athletes, I enjoyed every moment of it.
Q: What’s next for you, did you get an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine? If yes, which part of the combine are you looking forward to the most?
A: Next for me is to attend the NFL Scouting Combine. I look forward to everything about it. Just another time to showcase what I can do.
Q: Moving forward, what would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? How will you improve your game leading up to the draft?
A: I would have to say my strengths are catching the ball, my route running, and just being ” quarterback friendly”. I don’t necessarily have a weakness but I try to work on everything to make it better.
Q: If you had to compare yourself to a current player in the NFL, who would it be and why?
A: I really don’t like to compare myself to any current players because there could be a chance that I have to compete against them for a job. But I do like to take things from different players that they do good and incorporate it into my game.
Q: The Philadelphia Eagles like to get wide receivers in space and get the ball to them quickly. While watching tape of you, what really stuck out is your ability to make plays after the catch. Do you think that would help you translate quickly in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense?
A: Yes, I feel that would help. That’s what I’ve been used to.
Q: The Eagles also prefer to move their receivers all over the field and line them up in various quirky formations. Do you think you are capable of doing so or do you prefer playing strictly in the slot?
A: I prefer anything I can do to help my team win and be as successful as possible.
Q: The Eagles are a run-first team and rely on their receivers to be strong blockers in the running game. There are already some highlights of your impressive blocks on the internet, so do you think that’s a strength in your game and how much do you focus on it while practicing?
A: Definitely. Our philosophy at ECU was if you don’t block you don’t play. So I took a lot of pride in blocking and helping my teammates make a big play. We had certain periods during practice that were made specifically for blocking, so it was practiced everyday.
Q: For Eagles’ fans that may not know much about you, please describe the type of player and person you are, what would you bring to the team if they drafted you?
A: Hard working guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder. Always trying to prove himself. A person with a great attitude and always give good effort.