2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Mecole Hardman
Position: Wide Receiver
School: The University of Georgia
Weight: 185 pounds
Draft Projection: Day 2
Despite his suboptimal size, Hardman presents quarterbacks with an interesting catch radius. He shows the knack for reaching inches above the ground or behind him to make the grab. In essence, he saves potential interceptions and completions by making these grabs on the run. From the slot, teams will rely on Hardman to secure these grabs, regardless of placement at full speed.
No matter where on the field, Hardman remains a threat to take the ball the distance. Whether outside, the slot or on jet sweeps, he immediately becomes a nightmare matchup due to his suddenness. Armed with immediate explosion, Hardman bolts from the snap. If he gets a free release and no safety help over the top, he is gone. With no wasted motion, he will take the top off a defense. In addition, Hardman’s speed actually breaks weak tackles by preventing defenders from securing a grasp. Meanwhile, he also functions as an exceptional punt returner, average 15.2 yards per return.
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The only major issue with Hardman with this trait is his size. A corner can manhandle him within those five yards and disrupt the route. As a result, sending him in motion or identifying off coverage will see Harman wide open.
As mentioned, operating from the slot, Hardman will excel with the out, drag, option, fly, and post. These will serve as the basis for expanding his route expertise. With his speed, Hardman needs to develop a better double move that will lead to long plays.
In traffic, Hardman shows the wiggle and twitch that forces chaos as two levels. First, one on one with a linebacker means Hardman puts the defender on skates. Next, while battling a defensive back, look for the footwork to cut sharp angles, in and out of acceleration.
If you are honest, you will Derek Carr needs a quality slot receiver. Looking around the AFC West, every other team boasts that luxury. Yet, Seth Roberts should not be an integral part of the offense. Under Gruden, Carr improved his accuracy and looked comfortable. Yet, the offense lacks athletes. The offense does not strike fear in anyone. With the addition of Hardman, the Raiders will open up the middle of the field and possibly find a wideout that will convert third downs.