INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia receiver Mecole Hardman ran a 4.33-second time in the 40-yard dash on Saturday, the Bulldogs’ SEC speed finally evident in Lucas Oil Stadium.
The 5-foot-10, 187-pound Hardman ran a 4.36 on his first attempt after appearing to stumble on his start.
WR Mecole Hardman (Georgia) stumbles a bit off the start. May have cost him a lower 4.3. pic.twitter.com/qgOlPimnTm
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 2, 2019
Hardman’s time was pivotal, as he is one of the smaller receivers at the NFL combine. NFL teams’ attraction to him directly correlates with his ability to make the home run play, as a receiver or return man.
“I’m the do-it-all guy,” Hardman said. “I can go outside, I can go inside, my special teams value is high, so I bring a lot of value.”
Ohio Sate WR Paris Campbell ran the fastest 40-yard dash time on Saturday, a 4.31-second run.
Hardman has been compared to Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill and Chicago Bears running back Tarek Cohen by some NFL scouts.
Hill did not get invited to the 2016 NFL Combine and was a fifth-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs coming out of West Alabama. Hill’s draft stock was adversely affected by a domestic violence incident.
Cohen was 5-6, 179, coming out of North Carolina A&T and ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine and was the fourth-round pick of the Chicago Bears.
Hardman played quarterback in high school and began his career at UGA as a defensive back. That athleticism will translate with NFL teams, particularly after he did 17 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press on Friday.
“I think Georgia prepared me,” Hardman said. “The program speaks for itself, and the talent Coach (Kirby) Smart brought in made the competition in practice just like the game, so when the games came, it was easy.”
But Hardman is still developing as a receiver, and teams are more inclined to project a high ceiling for him at the next level than other players.
Georgia receiver Terry Godwin also ran his 40-yard dashes on Saturday.
The 5-foot-11, 184-pound Godwin ran a 4.6 40-yard dash in his first attempt, and a 4.55 on his second pass.
NFL executive Gil Brandy projects 4.55 as the benchmark receivers at the NFL combine should aim for.
Hardman said on Friday he felt he could run a sub 4.3-second 40-yard dash.
“There’s chance, it could be for sure,” Hardman said of the chance of a 4.2 time. “I know I’m fast.”
Georgia football will hold its pro day on March 20.
UGA players Elijah Holyfield and Isaac Nauta are expect to re-test in the 40 after running two of the slower times at their positions.
Nauta also performed well in the bench press, and while his 40 time was too far off the mark, it was much slower than what he expected.
When you watch the NFL combine workouts this week, keep this chart handy. These are my target test results for each position and event. pic.twitter.com/w3yzY8PcGF
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) February 25, 2019