The Kansas City Chiefs will need their third-year receiver to emerge as another valuable option for Patrick Mahomes in 2021.
Despite being obliterated in Super Bowl LV 31-9 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Kansas City Chiefs are still amongst the favorites to return to Super Sunday. They’ve fixed up their offensive line by signing Joe Thuney and acquiring Orlando Brown Jr. With a solid offensive line and Patrick Mahomes under center, the Chiefs offense is reloaded and ready to go.
Kansas City did suffer a key loss on offense this offseason, however. Sammy Watkins left via free agency to sign with the Baltimore Ravens. He was the No. 2 receiver behind Tyreek Hill, meaning another pass-catcher will have to fill the void Watkins left. Enter Mecole Hardman.
Hardman’s ability to torch defenses with his speed makes him a valued asset in Andy Reid’s offense. Unfortunately, the former Georgia Bulldog’s performance has been up and down since he entered the NFL in 2019. With Watkins gone, this is the perfect time for the 23-year-old receiver to step up and make a name for himself in Kansas City.
Hill and Travis Kelce are undoubtedly going to get the attention of every NFL defense. That is where Hardman can prove his worth. With teams shift coverages to Hill or Kelce, it leaves Hardman with 1-on-1 matchups in the slot or outside. If he can polish his route running and hold onto the football, he should get more targets in 2021.
Being a former second-round pick and entering his third season, it’s time that Hardman makes that next step as a receiver. His speed is game-changing, but speed only takes you so far. In year three, Kansas City needs him to put the entire package together. If he can become that legit No. 2 receiver for Mahomes, the Chiefs will be an even more dangerous team in 2021.