FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- A few quick thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' fourth-round draft pick.
The pick: Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina, No. 107 overall
My take: The Falcons promised to be mindful of keeping the offensive weapons fresh for quarterback Matt Ryan. Duke's Jamison Crowder might have been the pick here, but he went a few slots earlier to the Redskins. Hardy is not a bad choice by any means. He's an instinctive receiver who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Hardy is known for being consistent and getting open, plus can block down the field. ESPN analyst Bill Polian praised Hardy for his ability to establish separation. The Falcons needed a slot receiver after cutting Harry Douglas. And they addressed an offensive need for the second straight round after selecting Indiana running back Tevin Coleman in the third round. Now they just need an offensive lineman or two.
Another Pirate: This isn't the first offensive player from East Carolina to be on the Falcons' roster in recent years. Quarterback Dominique Davis was Ryan's backup for two seasons.