One of the intriguing things about Brandon Hardin was the fact he was a converted cornerback, but shaped more like a safety. At 6'3, 220, and running a 4.43 40 yard dash, he's a solid, punishing tacker, and fair at man coverage. Like Chris Conte, both aren't Danieal Manning fast, but Hardin is decent enough in coverage to stack against some more physical beings in the slot. Two weeks ago, when looking at the Packers defense, I broke down their usage of the 2-4-5 and how they leverage Charles Woodson into a few important roles as both a slot cornerback and a safety. There's so much that defenses are doing to try to adapt to the new passing league, and with Phil Emery drafting guys all over the defensive side of the ball with coverage skills, it's a recognition of the reality of the game now. With the importance of a fifth defensive back, knowing what flexibility you have around your backs can go a long way into improving your defensive scheming.
Lets take a look at this play (via MGoBlog.com, a Michigan Wolverines Blog).