Bloomington, Ind. – The NFL is waiting for James Hardy and Tracy Porter, and its representatives were watching Wednesday afternoon.
Hardy and Porter were two of the 12 Hoosier seniors who participated in IU's Pro Day Wednesday, an event that includes a series of drills and interviews conducted under the watchful eyes of various NFL coaches and scouts. Representatives from 18 NFL teams, including Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis, were on hand at IU's Mellencamp Pavilion to kick the tires of those seniors who are hoping to continue their football careers at the professional level.
In addition to Hardy and Porter, Tim Bugg, Blake Powers, Jon Sandberg, Leslie Majors, Josiah Sears, Charlie Emerson, Brian Faires, Nick Sexton, Michael Hines and Joe Kremer participated, while NFL scouts and many current teammates looked on.
While players had an opportunity to record marks in the vertical jump, broad jump, shuttle run, 225-pound bench press and 40-yard dash, Hardy and Porter focused much of their attention on individual workout drills with various coaches. Each participated in just one of the individual event, with Hardy posting a 37-inch vertical jump and Porter running a 4.40 in the 40.
Both have been through this drill before, as they were in Indianapolis last month for the NFL Combine. Both were largely pleased with their performances in Indianapolis, and thus opted to pick and choose which ones they participated in Wednesday.
Hardy ran a 4.47 at the combine, a mark that has helped his draft stock rise a great deal in recent weeks.
"It wasn't that I was happy (with my 40 time in Indianapolis), my agent just told me that I had nothing else to prove," Hardy said. "They had me running a 4.6, which isn't as fast as I've been running, but at the same time I felt it was good enough."
While many of the other Hoosiers are hoping that their performances might impress an NFL team enough that they could eventually be a free agent signee, Porter and Hardy were clearly the biggest reasons why there was such a large contingent of NFL teams. Hardy has been mentioned as a potential first-round draft pick, while Porter is expected to be a second or third-round selection.
At this point it's impossible to predict where they'll wind up, but both are just hoping to do enough leading up to the April 26-27 NFL Draft to go as early as possible.
"They see great potential, they see some things I need to work on at the same time," Hardy said. "Overall, they feel I'm a big target and I can be successful at this level. That's all I needed to hear to have the motivation to keep me going. I want to be the best at this position, and now is going to be my shot to go out and work for perfection."
Porter said he also received very positive feedback as well from NFL scouts after his workouts.
"(I want them to see) I have the speed to play at the next level, that I definitely have the hands and ball skills and cover skills," Porter said.
While it's a pressure-packed day due to all of the interested on-lookers, Porter said he tried to treat it just another practice day at Mellencamp Pavilion.
"The coaches came out here and you treat it just like practice," Porter said. "Just a normal day, try to impress a few coaches, make a few plays."
Hardy, Porter Show Off Skills at IU Pro Day
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