FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons have a talented group of skill players that includes stars like Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman, dynamic weapons who have helped Atlanta become a serious NFC threat.
Not one of those players has the best hands on the team. According to Sanu, that title belongs to Justin Hardy.
"I mean, Justin, he's not a big person but I think he's a freak," Sanu said on the second day of voluntary workouts. "He can do a lot of different things a lot of people don't know. Me, personally, I think he has the best hands. It was a debate all along between me and him, but, me, I say he does just because of how he attacks the ball with no fear at all times. I've learned a lot from him these past two years on the way he attacks the ball. I'd say before this, I never attacked the ball that way. I've learned, from him, how to."
Maybe Sanu has. The seventh-year wide receiver is coming off of one of the best seasons of his career. In 2017, Sanu caught a career-high 67 passes for 703 yards and five touchdowns, tying his previous career-high.
Hardy, 26, is entering his fourth season with the Falcons, who drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. In 2017, Hardy caught 20 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, Hardy has 62 receptions for 618 yards and seven touchdowns.
While Hardy may not be featured in the same way that Jones or Sanu are as receivers, he's earned the trust of the teammates and the coaching staff, who understand they can count on him in key situations.
"I don't think he gets overlooked, we just know we can count on him," Sanu said. "He's always dependable. It's just something that's just all-knowing, 'Oh, Justin can do: this, this, this, and this.'"
As for who has the best hands: Hardy finished second in catch percentage among Falcons wide receivers with at least 20 targets, reeling in 69 percent of the passes thrown his way. Leading all wide receivers in that criteria, however, was Sanu, who caught 69.8 percent of his targets. Perhaps Sanu has learned a lot from Hardy after all.