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Why Cowboys Should Draft Mecole Hardman No Matter What

Brian Martin

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Why Cowboys Should Draft Mecole Hardman no Matter What

The first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft has come and gone, but the Dallas Cowboys have yet to make a pick. The impatience many of us are dealing with right now will finally come to an end today when the Cowboys make the first of their two Day 2 selections at 58th overall in the second-round.

The Dallas Cowboys are slotted to pick 26th in the second-round today, meaning there's still a lot that's going to happen between now and then before they can write a name down on their draft card. Instead of getting into specifics of who the Cowboys could select with the 58th overall pick, I'd rather focus on a player I believe they should draft at some point on Day 2 no matter what…Mecole Hardman.

Drafting Hardman 58th overall is a bit of a reach for most people, but I don't think so if you take into consideration all of the ways he can help as a rookie. I don't believe the Cowboys will take him that early, but the 90th overall pick in the third-round is much more realistic. If I was in the draft room, I would absolutely pound the table for Hardman in the third if he still available.

Mecole Hardman, the former Georgia product, is a dynamic playmaker in all three phases of the game. He can play receiver, special teams, and even as an emergency defensive back due to his background as a cornerback. That kind of versatility is invaluable, especially in the NFL where roster spots are priceless.

Hardman was part of a deep skill group with the Bulldogs the past two years. Despite being one of the most dynamic playmakers on the team, he only accumulated 73 touches during that time span. He turned those touches into 13 touchdowns, 16 yards per reception, 7.5 yards per rushing attempt, and averaged over 20 yards per punt return. It's a small sample size, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Surprisingly enough, Hardman is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. He is going to be even better in the NFL than he was in college. But don't take my word for it, have a look for yourself…

Mecole Hardman in Space

Mecole Hardman is the most dangerous player in space in the entire 2019 draft class in my opinion. His legitimate 4.33 speed certainly helps, but it's his flexibility, explosion, and balance that makes him extremely difficult to tackle in space and in close quarters. There are very few defenders, if any, who possess the kind of quickness and athleticism to corral him, which is why he can turn a simple play into a home run anytime he touches the ball.

Just look what he does on the below play when he sits down in the open zone…

Hardman the space eater

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Here's another example of Mecole Hardman and what he can do in space on a simple swing pass…

Hardman in space

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His speed and elusiveness when in space makes it extremely difficult for defensive players to get a good angle on him. You see time and time again how easily he glides past them, leaving them grasping for air.

Mecole Hardman the "Gadget" Player

Anytime Georgia was able to get the ball in Mecole Hardman's hands good things happened. Surprisingly though, he wasn't used much on "gadget" plays, but it's part of his game that will definitely be utilized more at the next level. His speed and ability to capture the edge quickly really puts opposing defenses at a disadvantage whether it's on reverses, jet sweeps, or end-arounds.

Hardman reverse

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Again, Hardman's speed and ability to quickly capture the edge makes it nearly impossible for defenders to get a good angle on him. This is just a simple reverse, but as soon as Mecole gets the ball in his hands he's gone in the blink of an eye.

Can you just imagine how effective that would be in the Cowboys offense because of the amount of respect Ezekiel Elliott commands in the running game down after down? Zeke gets the flow of the defense going one way and BOOM, there goes Hardman the opposite direction for six.

Mecole Hardman the Return Man

The Dallas Cowboys could definitely use an upgrade in the return game, whether on kickoffs or punt returns. Yes, they have Tavon Austin, but he's only under a one-year contract and isn't guaranteed to even make the final 53-man roster. This is especially true if Mecole Hardman is added to the mix. He was one of the more dangerous return men in the nation at Georgia, averaging over 20 yards per punt return.

Hardman return specialist

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In the play above, Hardman shows why he's so dangerous as a punt returner. He easily secures the catch and then explodes into the open field as if he was shot out of a cannon. That's when his natural instincts in space takes over. He has tremendous vision in the open field, seeing and hitting creases other players can only dream about.

He may not have scored on the above punt return, but he was close to going the distance. Here's what it looks like when he does take it to the house…

Hardman punt return

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Mecole Hardman the Deep Threat

The vertical passing game is where Mecole Hardman separates himself from other wide receivers in the 2019 draft class in my opinion. The only other WR I believe may be a better deep threat is Emanuel Hall out of Missouri, but he's not nearly as versatile of a player as Hardman.

Despite his limited use in the passing game at Georgia, Hardman seems to have a really good understanding of how to process coverages. He knows whether a safety, cornerback, or a linebacker is responsible for him in coverage, and knows how to take advantage of it.

Just look at how he completely embarrasses the linebacker on this play…

Hardman deep threat

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Getting Hardman matched up with a safety or linebacker is a matchup he's going to win 99% of the time, especially if he gets a free release off the line of scrimmage. Most cornerbacks have a hard enough time sticking with him when he goes vertical, which former Alabama CB Tony Brown found out the hard way.

Hardman going deep

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Tony Brown is a 4.35 speedster himself, and is fresh off a pretty solid rookie season for the Green Bay Packers. Hardman quickly eats up the cushion Brown gave him and easily wins over the top for a walk in touchdown. That kind of vertical threat from the slot WR position is something the Cowboys offense never had with Cole Beasley and certainly missed.

✭✭✭✭✭

I know a lot of people are going to disagree in the Dallas Cowboys taking any kind of offensive player with either of their two draft picks on the Day 2, let alone a receiver, but for me it's Mecole Hardman no matter what. I don't think there is another offensive player in the entire draft class, at any position, who can be as big of a difference maker with the Cowboys.

The kind of skill set, versatility, and athletic ability Hardman possesses is rare and extremely difficult to come by. I think he's going to be a Tyreek Hill, Tyler Lockett, or DeSean Jackson type of offensive weapon in the NFL. He's just the kind of player you find ways to get the ball to and there's not a doubt in my mind he makes the Dallas Cowboys better from Day 1. That's why I'm pounding the table for him at 90th overall if he still on the board.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.

One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.

A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.

In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.

But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?

The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.

Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.

Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.



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NFL Draft

Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.

You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.

The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:

  • DT, Trysten Hill
  • RB, Tony Pollard
  • RB, Mike Weber
  • WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
  • CB, Chris Westry

If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.

The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.

I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.

After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.

This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.

It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.

Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?



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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades

Shane Carter

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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades 1

Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.

Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.

Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.

58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 1

In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.

Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.

It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Grade: B

90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 6

As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.

However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.

Who’s job could be on the line?

Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?

Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?

Is one of them going to get traded?

Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?

So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.

Grade: A

128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard

If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.

Shane Carter on Twitter

Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft

Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.

The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.

Grade: A-

158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 9

This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.

His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.

With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.

Grade: C+

165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 11

Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.

The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.

The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.

Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.

Grade: B+

213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson 

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 12

The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.

Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.

Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.

Grade: B

218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 13

Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.

Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.

He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.

Grade: B

241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 14

Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.

It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B



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