The Chiefs have taken Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill and Khalen Saunders. How did the Chiefs do? We discuss the newest team’s newest players.
The Chiefs have made their first three selections of 2019. While it is impossible to know exactly how a player’s NFL career will go based off of their college career, I am going to give my initial take away from the selections of Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill, and Khalen Saunders as well as a way-too-early grade, because all draft grades are too early.
My initial take away from the group as a whole is how Brett Veach is approaching this year’s draft. He is not only taking guys that have a high ceiling, but also decently high floors. All three players selected stand little chance of being complete busts, in my opinion. That being said, let us begin with Mecole Hardman.
To me, this is the signal for the end of Tyreek Hill‘s career with the Chiefs. I don’t believe that there is any way that Hardman was the Chiefs initial guy going into the draft. When the Tyreek Hill news surfaced, Brett Veach was left with very little choice, but to draft a playmaker for Patrick Mahomes to make up for some of the production that Hill created.
Hardman is a speedy player who can burn people off of the line of scrimmage. His burst is very good and his vision with the ball in his hands is incredible. I like his vertical ability and his ability to track the ball. The Chiefs are blessed with more speed for the offense and for special teams.
Mecole Hardman has a pretty small frame and may have a smaller catch radius. Also part of his size, his downfield physicality is not great. For players that at the top of the league, being able to box out defenders and use their body to their advantage. This is where the he could use a bit of improvement.
Again, it is way too early to know how Hardman will play in the NFL; However, his talent is not as high as many of the receivers that went in round two, in my opinion. While his playmaking ability is incredible and he has been gifted with top-notch speed, he will need to improve in several parts of his game to be a true number one receiver in the NFL.
If authentic, the audio cut of Hill and his girlfriend would be quite damning to his case with the NFL, which has a track record for conducting detailed investigations in the matters of child and/or spousal abuse.
And the notion of Hill potentially lying to police authorities may be grounds for an unprecedented suspension, if not a lifetime ban with the NFL.
Which brings us back to Hardman: the lightning-fast wideout enjoyed a breakout season last year, rolling for 35 catches, 543 yards and eight total touchdowns.
Interestingly, Hardman’s athletic skill set compares favorably to that of Hill; and whether fair or not, those tie-ins will become even more prevalent, if Hardman gets vaulted into a starting role in Year 1.
Bottom line: the pressure’s on for the player (Hardman) who just joined a franchise with sky-high hopes of making the Super Bowl in 2020.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks about how WR Mecole Hardman of Georgia and Virginia DB Juan Thornhill, the team’s first two 2019 NFL Draft picks, will fit in and help the team.
Mecole Hardman is around the same size as many of the NFL’s leading receivers including Antonio Brown, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, T.Y. Hilton, Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr. His size, speed, and quickness would present problems for bigger corners.
Hardman was a high-school quarterback, and is still learning the receiver position. With that being considered, his ceiling is considerably higher as a pro than in college. He managed to find the end zone once every 4.6 plays, scoring 13 touchdowns on only 60 touches. He also managed 1,467 return yards on only 74 returns.
Mecole would be valuable in the Ravens’ offense, and would be able to take the top off, consistently winning 1-on-1 on the outside or in the slot. If the box is stacked, Hardman will score at a freakishly high rate if Lamar Jackson is able to get the ball in his hands deep.
Greg Roman would love to have him for jet sweeps/screens which are a prominent feature in his offensive game plan. Many pundits predict that Mecole will be available in the third round.
University of Georgia playmakers have excelled at the NFL level, and Hardman should follow suit. He projects somewhere between Seattle Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett and Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill. If the Ravens are able to secure Hardman with the 85th pick, they won’t regret it.