If there is any one player on the Atlanta Falcons’ offense that is playing better than expected through the first nine training camp practices its wide receiver Justin Hardy.
the 2015 fourth-round pick has flown well under the radar heading into 2016 after a somewhat disappointing rookie campaign, but that hasn’t stopped him from showing out.
There isn’t much Hardy hasn’t down in camp. Whether it be one-handed catches, superb route-running or just his overall confidence level, Hardy is showing everyone what he’s capable of and boy is that exciting.
Heading into camp, Hardy wasn’t even a lock to win a starting job, but unless something crazy happens, he has that job locked up behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
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Hardy is exactly what the Falcons need out of the slot receiver position. Someone that has great hands and can run solid routes and that’s exactly the skill set that Hardy has shown in camp. His confidence level is as high as it has ever been and it’s showing.
The man known as “wolf” didn’t see the field very much as a rookie. Week after week to start the season we saw Hardy on the sidelines without pads on. And week after week we all wondered to ourselves why that was. Nobody could figure out why he wasn’t at least getting 5-10 reps a game at receiver, but he finally got his chance towards the end of the season.
And while it was nothing too impressive, Hardy finished with 194 yards on 21 receptions.
Some are even going as far to say that if Hardy keeps this up, he could beat out Sanu for the wide receiver No. 2 spot. And while that sounds a little crazy, it isn’t too farfetched of an idea. It’s not that Sanu has looked bad, but that Hardy has looked that good.
We still have four preseason games to decide the order in which these players will line up in, but one thing is for sure, Hardy is ready for a much-bigger role in 2016.