Montario Hardesty Making Big Impression on Mangini & Company

The Cleveland Browns’ round 2, 59th overall draft pick, Tennessee running back Montario Hardesty, appears to be making a very positive splash among the Team’s coaching staff.

Eric Mangini recently commented that Hardesty is a dedicated, knowledgeable player who is always eager to participate in tutorials.  Maybe so, but it is hard as a fan to get too excited about how often someone puts his hand up in the classroom.  Now this gets us excited about Hardesty – a compilation of highlights that clearly illustrates Montario’s versatility in terms of both power running and catching footballs out of the backfield:

We drafted Hardesty about where he was projected to go.  NFL DraftScout, for example, forecasted Montario as the 67th overall selection in the second or third round.  He was ranked 5th at the running back position.

The primary concern with Montario has been his proneness to injury.  He has had a series of knee injuries and surgeries, however, he started 13 games for the Volunteers last season, rushing for more than 1300 yards (just 119 yards short of the all-time Tennessee record).  In terms of size, Hardesty is bigger and stronger than our other rookie RB, James Davis.  Montario is more of a “pure banger”.  His abilities to break tackles and block are two important attributes that Hardesty brings to the table. 

If Jerome Harrison holds out from the volunteer organized team activities this Spring, as expected since he is looking for a new multi-year contract, then Hardesty will get a great opportunity to ingratiate himself even further with the Browns’ regime. 

The backfield situation this season in Brownstown is turning into one of the more interesting storylines.  With Harrison running for more yards than any other running back in the NFL down the stretch last season and being a pivotal factor in our winning streak to close out the campaign, he is a lock on the starting position.  But the rest is very much up in the air.  Holmgren loves fullbacks – he always has during his tenure in the NFL.  The performance by Harrison last season is owed very much to the superior blocking of Lawrence Vickers.  If anyone doubts that, watch these highlights of Harrison from late last season;  follow #47, Vickers, as he plays a big part of nearly every run shown:

Notwithstanding the acquisition of Peyton Hillis from Denver in the trade of the golden boy, we anticipate that Vickers’ role will remain.

Between Hardesty and Davis, we would not be the least bit surprised if Davis finds himself on the outside looking in.

Go Browns!

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  • JimmyDiDago

    I’m a born and bred Browns fan from NEO now living near Knoxville. Have seen all his games the past two seasons.
    When H&H stated that they wanted a big back, I’d hoped we could get him. I’d already known much of what has come out about him and, I’m telling you now, there’s more to come !
    Fans are going to love this kid’s dedication, humility, sense of community and hard nosed running.
    For the older NFL fans think Chuck Foreman of the Vikings or a faster Mike Pruitt.
    No matter how this pick plays out, he’ll be remembered for a long time in Cleveland.

  • Steve DiMatteo

    Thanks Jimmy! Glad to know that those in Knoxville have seen firsthand what Hardesty brings to the table. If he can stay healthy, I’m with you on what is to come; his hard-nosed running will be much appreciated in Cleveland.

  • Adam

    I am also from Cleveland, now living in Knoxville, and I was thrilled when the Browns took Monterio. Hardesty has a heart as big a mountain and is a fantastic hard-nosed player. The Vols didn’t have a great offense, either. He often made great gains when there was nothing there. I agree with JimmyDiDago. Hardesty also reminds me of a faster Mike Pruitt. He is great at finding a small crack and drilling into it to make a gain. He is patient, explosive, and very cunning as a runner.