SS Brandon Hardin – 6’3”, 219 lbs (Oregon State)
I don’t know if Phil Emery has ever been to Vegas, but I do know he likes to gamble. With the 79th overall pick, the Bears either selected a multiple Pro Bowl safety, or a special teamer that will have an injury plagued career. Hardin missed his entire senior season with a fractured shoulder, and had injuries to his wrist and hand in the previous years. He was healthy enough to play in the East-West Shrine game last year though. Why would the Bears take such a gamble on this kid? Because he’s 6’3”, 219 lbs and runs a 4.38 forty. He has a 35-1/2” vertical and put up 24 reps of 225 lbs. That 24 reps is 3 more than what he could do before the shoulder injury. He played CB in college because of his speed, but the Bears will use his size and convert him to safety. Using that size, speed, and coverage ability, he would be the perfect candidate to cover elite receiving TEs, like one Jermichael Finley.
Hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, Hardin is a very bright, hard working guy. He’s a 2 time PAC -10 All-Academic selection, and graduated with a degree in Business Management. He certainly looks the part of an NFL safety, now just needs to prove that he can stay healthy. He will challenge Major Wright for the starting job, while contributing immediately on special teams.
Emery is certainly rolling the dice on this one. Bears fans just hope he doesn’t roll snake eyes and craps out. For now anyway, as long as Emery is still shooting, I’m betting the pass line every time.