Mecole Hardman was a nice surprise in his rookie season for the KC Chiefs. Now that he has a full year under his belt, he’s ready for even bigger things in 2020.
Most Kansas City Chiefs fans were likely scratching their heads at the team’s second-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With holes to fill in the secondary, choosing a receiver in Mecole Harman with their first pick in that draft seemed a bit odd. Only because things were up in the air just days before the draft with wide receiver Tyreek Hill did the pick make much sense.
Fortunately, KC Chiefs fans are no longer scratching their heads after what Mecole Hardman put on the field in 2019.
It’s not uncommon for new players in Andy Reid’s offense to take some time to adjust. With Hardman coming in a little further down the depth chart, it likely took away some of that burden to perform right away.
His ability to step right into a special teams role likely made him more comfortable when given some opportunities on offense. Along with 26 receptions for 538 yards, Hardman also crossed the goal line six times in 2019.
While those numbers don’t invoke thoughts of him being an instant superstar, they’re enough to expect even bigger things out of him this upcoming season. The biggest reason to believe that he’s able to handle a bigger role and do bigger things is simply that he shined brightest in the big moments last season.
In only the second week of the season, which came against the Raiders, Hardman caught one of Patrick Mahomes‘ four second-quarter touchdowns, making him part of the spark in winning that game. He continued to show up at just the right time, maybe none more so than his big return against the Texans in the playoffs that flipped the whole script on that game.
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Much like Hill, Hardman is a high-energy guy that can break a game wide open in just a few plays. That’s what it will take for Hardman to get the lion’s share of the plays going his way.
With Kansas City’s phenomenal stable of receivers, he’ll have to fight for any chance he gets in this high-powered offense. It’s not too far fetched to think that Hardman could have a 1,000-plus yard receiving season after building a good rapport with Mahomes last season.
It seems like a distant memory that Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders both played for the Steelers for four years together before Sanders headed for Denver. That next season, both players went over 1,400 yards receiving on their respective teams.
It wouldn’t have been too far fetched to think that both players could have both put up those numbers with Ben Roethlisberger throwing them the rock. Now to think of this scenario with the combination of Hill, Hardman, and Mahomes, the possibility of both of these players going over 1,000 yards seems easily attainable.
With more of the chatter focusing on Hill as one of the league’s top receivers, this opens the door for other teams to sleep on Hardman in 2020. Not only that, but with Sammy Watkins on the field, the opportunity for that to happen becomes even greater.
While Hardman certainly has all the physical tools to make plays, his ability to open the field up for others is there as well. With so much speed at receiver stretching the field, teams will have to figure out ways to stop All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
It wouldn’t be a bit surprising to see Hardman really come into his own in year two and make a name for himself as one of the league’s upper-echelon of receivers. A Pro Bowl nod in year two wouldn’t be out of the question either.
In a season where the Kansas City Chiefs look legitimately primed for another Super Bowl, he will definitely play a part in helping to get them there. Here’s to looking forward to a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown season from Hardman in 2020.