No. 3: Mecole Hardman
I fully understand the criticism surrounding wide receiver Mecole Hardman. The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Hardman in 2019 and, so far, he’s never lived up to expectations. He’s had issues finishing routes and catching the football in the past, which is obviously a major problem for a wide receiver.
Although, so far in 2021, it appears to be different. Hardman flashed plenty of potential throughout training camp. He was running great routes, beating players 1-on-1, running with the first-team offense, and connecting with Patrick Mahomes deep down the field.
He carried over his impressive training camp into the preseason. In the second preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, he caught 4 passes for 39 yards and made an incredible turn-around catch for a touchdown.
Like man, I was ready to give up on Hardman, but he’s finally starting to show signs of becoming a No. 2 wide receiver. Add that with a larger role in this offense and he could surprise a lot of people this season.
If the Kansas City Chiefs want to get back to the Super Bowl, Hardman must step up this season. Although, if his training camp performance is any indication of things to come, the Chiefs should be in pretty good shape.
No. 2: Noah Gray
Yet another player the Chiefs drafted this year makes the list. Noah Gray caught the eye of the Kansas City Chiefs scouting department during his final season at Duke. He was another big body receiving threat that had the incredible route-running ability and hands to match.
During training camp, Gray’s potential was on full display. He was making great plays seemingly every day at practice. Often making both leaping and diving contested catches. Gray was allowed to practice with the first, second, and third-team offense, which is big, especially for a young player.
Gray was also impressed in the blocking department. During the blocking drills, the young tight end would often beat any linebacker that he faced. Just another impressive element of his game. Heading into camp, Gray was fighting for the second tight-end job behind Travis Kelce.
However, after his performance from camp, it’s evident Gray will almost certainly be tight end No. 2 for the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
No. 1: Jody Fortson
Last, but certainly not least is tight end, Jody Fortson. Over the past few seasons, Fortson has impressed in training camp, but unfortunately never makes the team. However, this year it seems to be different. Fortson put on 20 pounds over the offseason to make the transition from wide receiver to tight end.
The Chiefs already have three tight ends on the depth chart, but Fortson’s rising quickly. Throughout camp Fortson made several impressive plays. He used his big body and deceptive speed to make contested catches down the field.
Fortson primarily played on the 2nd and 3rd team offense, but he played so well that he got some first team reps. Fortson continued his impressive play in the preseason. In week one, Fortson caught three passes for 32 yards against the San Francisco 49ers.
He also showcased his blocking ability, which is crucial if he wants to make the team. Fortson would often get overlooked as a serious threat in the past, but he’s forced the Kansas City Chiefs’ hand this year with his performance.
If I had to bet, Jody Fortson will make the team this year.