NAME: Penny Hart
POSITION: Wide Receiver
SCHOOL: Georgia State
CONFERENCE: Sun Belt
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 18
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
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Penny Hart has shown the ability to play both out of the slot or on the outside, but will likely find most of his success in the NFL as a slot receiver. Despite being a small school prospect, he is surprisingly well developed as a route runner and understands how to temper his routes to create space and separation. This is a testament to his football IQ and work ethic.
Hart’s calling card is a short area quickness. He shows quick feet on film. It helps him quickly get off the line of scrimmage and also helps him when getting in and out of his breaks as a route runner. He accelerates and decelerates with ease, showing plus burst, and easily changes directions at the drop of a dime.
Looks natural catching the ball on film and shows the ability to extend to make catches thrown outside his frame. Rarely drops passes. Is a threat after the catch. He is slippery once he gets in the open field and has a little fight to him when he faces contact. Used as a “gadget” player on jet sweeps, reverses, and end-arounds. Also has special-teams experience as both a punt and kick returner.
The biggest negative about Penny Hart is obviously his size. It will likely limit him to strictly playing out of the slot in the NFL, although he did show the ability to be a vertical threat at Georgia State, averaging 14.6 yards per reception. There are also concerns about his durability and the level of competition he played against in college.
Hart doesn’t show a lot of functional strength on film. This will hurt him against press coverage in the NFL and as a blocker in the passing game. He shows the willingness as the blocker, but gets overpowered by bigger defensive backs. Frame might already be maxed out.
His lack of size also comes into play as a pass catcher. He shows the ability to contort his body to catch passes thrown outside his frame, but he doesn’t have a very large catch radius. Struggles in contested catch situations as well. Much better catching the ball over is shoulder as a down the field receiver than he is when he’s square to the ball.
With the Dallas Cowboys, Penny Hart would more than likely step in and become Cole Beasley’s replacement in the slot. He may not be as good as a route runner as Beasley is at this stage in his career, but his change of direction ability and speed should make him an immediate contributor as a rookie.
Hart should also figure into the Cowboys return game as well. He has experience as both a punt and kick returner, and should be in the mix to become their return specialist. Offensively, he can be used in a variety of different ways. He’s shown the ability to play either on the inside or outside in the passing game and can be used on gadget plays such as jet sweeps, reverses, and end arounds.
Overall, there is a lot to like about Penny Hart and the variety of ways he can help the Cowboys. He would have some large shoes to fill, but he has the kind of skill set and game breaking ability that could endear him to fans immediately. He is projected to be a Day 3 pick, and I think he would be an absolute steal at that point in the draft for the Cowboys.