The Chicago Bears drafted safety Brandon Hardin from Oregon State with the 79th pick in the 3rd round.
Hardin grew up in Hawaii, and was a three-year letterman playing for former Oregon State graduate assistant coach Kanani Souza. His background as a sprinter and jumper in track and field is also evident in his athleticism. Hardin showed his toughness by playing the majority of his redshirt freshman season with a case on his broken hand and a sprained wrist on the other arm. He earned a more significant role on defense in 2009, including three starts. Hardin took over a starting cornerback job as a junior, while also sharing the team lead with 12 special teams tackles. Looking to build on that progress in 2011, Hardin suffered a broken shoulder during fall camp and underwent season-ending surgery. Considered a fringe draftprospect, Hardin’s stock began to rise with a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Game in January – the first time scouts had a chance to see him on the field since the 2010 season. He then ran a 4.36 and 4.40-second 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times at his pro day. That’s three more than he was able to do before a shoulder injury. He also had a 35 1/2-inch vertical leap and a 10-4 broad jump. “The scouts said it went well,” Hardin said. “I blew it up with the times. They were impressed. I missed all last season and didn’t get an (NFL Scouting) Combine invite. This was my chance to turn some heads that I deserved to be in the combine. “I showed I have speed and strength and versatility,” Hardin said. “(The scouts) knew I was fast, but this was the first time I had a really solid time (recorded). And I proved the shoulder is healthy with the bench.” A cornerback in college, Hardin likely projects best to free safety in the NFL. “What I’ve been told, I have the potential to move myself up (in the draft),” Hardin said. “I just need my foot in the door and I’ll impress them.”
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