With the second to last pick in the 4th round, the Bengals select Marcus Hardison the Defensive Tackle out of Arizona State. This was a compensatory pick the Bengals received for losing Anthony Collins.
With a common draft projection of the second to third round, the Bengals are still finding value at the tail end of the 4th. Hardison is a converted tackle from the end position and shows incredible speed off the snap. Some of the knocks on him are shedding blockers and his lower body strength. However, he looks like the type of player who can break on the snap and cause disruption in the back field. If he fulfills that role for the Bengals in a rotation, the defensive line may have just gotten a lot scarier.
Hardison's CBS profile reads much the same. His strengths are noted as:
Possesses broad shoulders, long arms (33.5") and good overall weight distribution. Good athlete for his size. Former defensive end who has a knack for rushing the passer that has remained since moving inside. Possesses impressive initial quickness off the ball, firing off the snap to penetrate gaps. Good lateral agility and flexibility to change directions and pursue. Closes quickly and with an explosive pop that can catch ballcarriers by surprise and lead to forced fumbles. Good strength for the drag-down tackle. Could be just scratching the surface of his potential.
His weaknesses surround the fact that he is new to the role and really only showed one dominant year in the position.
The Bengals have the luxury of grooming this latest pick and fitting him in with established linemen. Given that, I like the pick and hope the potential is realized as early as this season.
Jay Hayes on Hardison: played all positions with double-digit sacks— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) May 2, 2015
Hardison showed flexibility to play both DE and DT— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) May 2, 2015
#Bengals view Hardison as a DT in their system. Shaw was drafted to be a CB. -- Marvin Lewis— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 2, 2015
Oddity about Hardison, is a converted HS quarterback to DT. Don't see that often."He can chuck it about 70 yards," DL coach Jay Hayes said— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 2, 2015
Hardison played a little QB in high school. College coaches say they've seen him throw it 70 yds. Didn't start playing D until SR yr of HS.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) May 2, 2015