With the selection of Marcus Hardison, the Bengals add more depth to their defensive line. We spoke to Kaelen Jones, with House of Sparky, SB Nation's ASU site, to learn more about the defensive tackle, who actually played quarterback in high school. See House of Sparky's take on the selection and read on for our interview with Jones:
Cincy Jungle: What do you think of the Bengals selection of Marcus Hardison in the 4th round?
Kaelen Jones: It’s a luxury add. With the talent Cincinnati already has established along the front four (Dunlap, Peko, Atkins, Johnson), it wasn’t necessarily a position of need. With that being said, this provides Hardison the opportunity to really develop and initially be used as more of a situational player player. The Bengals selected a player with a ton of potential, so considering where they got him, it’s a great pick.
CJ: Did you think he'd get drafted sooner?
KJ: I did. I felt the late third round, early fourth round would be where he went. It’s understandable though, especially since some of the defensive line prospects that were considered better fell a bit further than I had expected them to. Getting Hardison at the end of the fourth is a really good value pick with low risk and high reward.
CJ: Do you see Hardison as someone who could make an immediate impact in the NFL? Do you think he still has some learning to do?
KJ: It depends on the playing time. He still needs to improve against the run, but I think that on passing downs he was very effective early on in his career. He’s still learning the position and I think he can improve against the run, but I think with coaching and experience he’ll be able to do so.
CJ: What were some of your favorite things about watching Hardison during his time at ASU?
KJ: His motor and speed at his size. Hardison was able to get after the passer from all over the defensive line, and the way he harassed opposing QB’s was fun to watch.
CJ: How about any least favorites?
KJ: Not too many come to mind.
CJ: Hardison played both DE and DT at ASU, was he more dominant at one? Where do you see him fitting in in the NFL?
KJ: I think his best and most promising position is 3-tech defensive tackle. He played a lot of the LEO position and was kicked inside a few times at the 5-tech and 3-tech in college, but I believe at the next level he’ll be able to be most effective rushing from the inside because of his quick first step.
CJ: Did he have any stand-out good or bad games?
KJ: A great game was Notre Dame game. He caught an interception and batted a pass that was returned for an interception that day. Against Washington he played very well, too. He ended up recording two sacks and four tackles in that game.
Not too many bad performances, but in the Sun Bowl against Duke he was lined up as the 3-tech defensive tackle against Detroit Lions’ first-round pick Laken Tomlinson on two plays, and Tomlinson pancaked him. He still finished with 13 tackles, though.
CJ: Are there any current NFL players who you would compare Hardison to?
KJ: Henry Melton is a popular comparison for him. I feel it’s a pretty accurate one, considering both made the transition from skill position (Melton played RB before DT), and both possesses a pretty quick first step. Physically, I think he compares to Tyson Alualu.