What will 2021 hold for the Kansas City Chiefs?
The Kansas City Chiefs are entering another highly anticipated season in 2021, coming off of a very action packed and dramatic offseason filled with several acquisitions, departures, and even an arrest.
With that being said, here are some of the major storylines to watch out for as the Chiefs begin training camp.
The Kansas City Chiefs need to develop a true WR2
When Sammy Watkins departed from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason to join the Baltimore Ravens, many Chiefs fans did not react with much panic. After all the oft-injured ex-Rams wideout only started in 31 games over his three seasons with the Chiefs, during which he never topped 700 yards receiving in any season.
So, there was nothing to worry about, right?
The Kansas City Chiefs were more efficient and productive with Watkins on the field these last 3 seasons. In fact, coming into the 2020 season, Watkins was rated as the second highest PAR (points above replacement) non-quarterback in the NFL, according to @SabinAnalytics).
This leaves some sizable shoes to replace for a young wide receiver corps that, outside of Tyreek Hill, has been relatively underwhelming, to say the least. There are two young wideouts specifically to watch during the preseason to see if this young group can truly fill the void left by Watkins’ departure.
Mecole Hardman– The third-year speedy receiver out of Georgia has shown flashes of potential over his first two seasons as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, but if Mecole Hardman truly wants to rise above his mediocre production so far in the NFL, he needs to improve his route running ability.
Hardman’s speed is impeccable, running a 4.27 40 yard dash time, but the ability to shake corners on his routes and rely on something other than his straight line speed has not yet been there. This has led to 41 receptions being the most Hardman has totaled in a season, which is frankly not enough in this high powered offense.
Watching Hardman compete in one on one matchups against this talented young secondary during training camp will truly show whether the third-year receiver is ready to step into a more prominent role.
Demarcus Robinson– Robinson, unlike Hardman, has been a part of the Chiefs organization for five years. During that time, he has yet to achieve his true ceiling as a receiver given his 6’1 frame and athletic skillset.
Robinson has a similar issue to the one Hardman has been plagued with. The inability to create space in the open field is a real issue and it has really limited his ability to capitalize on his height and athleticism.
Heading into camp, Hardman will be the presumed WR2 for the Chiefs, but it will be very interesting if Robinson can capitalize on the opportunity to push Hardman for the number two spot in this receiving core.