Hardesty tore his right ACL as a freshman in college and reinjured (bruised) his right knee earlier in camp, causing him to miss nearly a month of work. This is, unfortunately, a repeating pattern for Hardesty that isn’t likely to bode well for his NFL future. As noted here on DLF, a pick of Hardesty in the mid first round came with it a tag of significant injury risk – something that often carries over into a player’s NFL career.
While Hardesty is still young, a rebuilt right knee, and soon to be left, just doesn’t project well. So, how does this change Cleveland’s offense?
This injury can only help Harrison’s touches. Harrison, Hardesty and James Davis were all expected to share some carries while Cleveland looked for an every down back. Hardesty removed from the mix probably ensures that Harrison now will receive no less than 50% of the touches.
James Davis, who was already a sneaky 2010 play coming off an injury, has looked capable, yet far from dynamic. If Davis can stay healthy, he’ll get a chance to produce. He’ll certainly now stick on the roster after averaging better than 4.0 ypc in last night’s preseason finale.
In the fantasy world, Peyton Hillis is flying off store shelves. Hillis has actually started ahead of Davis and is a better short yardage producer. Hillis doesn’t have nearly the value that fantasy leaguers think, but in Cleveland, anything could happen and Hillis has flashed in the past.
Yuma, Arizona product Chris Jennings may get a chance to hang around for one more year, but doesn’t project as anything more than, at best, a 4th body or practice squad player in case of injury.
I’d be hard pressed to name an offense worse off than the Browns in 2010. In fact, I have said that the past three years.
Hardesty would have been no savior for the offense or the Browns’ passing game, but the hope was he could reinstill the power running game that has been missing for some time.
There is likely no fantasy relevance in the Cleveland offense in 2010 unless Jerome Harrison can pick up where he left off in 2009.
This is a big blow for the young rookie. I am saddened by the news, but was not surprised when I heard it. I would not have touched Hardesty until the very late first round in any rookie draft.
I like the way he runs, I love his attitude and his work ethic, but his injury history was/is too suspect for an early-to-mid first round fantasy selection.
I’ll now be rooting for him to keep his head up and beat the odds stacked against him.
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff