May 28, 2024

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Chiefs’ Mecole Hardman can be much more than a gadget receiver in 2022

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There are some misconceptions about Kansas City Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman heading into the 2022 NFL season.

One of the most repeated misconceptions is the idea that Hardman only thrives as a gadget receiver. That is to say that he needs produced touches, normally driving the line of scrimmage, in get to have results in Andy Reid’s offense. Items like screen passes, reverses and so on.

There is no denying this precise job has been a big part of his activity above the previous a few seasons. Past 12 months, he even excelled at it, recording a whopping 487 yards just after the capture, fantastic for seventh-most among the receivers in the NFL’s standard period. He will carry on to have achievement in the role, but it will not be the only function for him in Kansas City going ahead.

Hardman doesn’t have a lot of practical experience performing as the team’s lead receiver with Tyreek Hill on the sidelines, but when he’s had the opportunity, he flashed. Back again in 2019, Hardman’s normal depth of concentrate on was 12.25 from Week 2 by Week 5 when Hill was out with a sternoclavicular joint dislocation. This is to say that on average, he was catching passes much more than 12 yards previous the line of scrimmage. Hardman’s average depth of focus on extrapolated over the system of a year would have been superior for 36th in the NFL. Hill, who is known as the league’s premier deep threat, has never experienced far more than 12.9 typical depth of concentrate on in a one season.

For reference, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has led the NFL in ordinary depth of goal in every single of the previous two seasons (in excess of 18 each time). It is really hard to imagine Hardman hitting Valdes-Scantling’s numbers (especially when they’re on the exact same workforce), but it is not unreasonable to believe he could at minimum match the league normal (around 10 yards) in a season with a better share of opportunities.

If that is not plenty of evidence that Hardman can excel as a lot more than a gadget receiver, think about how very good he is at producing separation. Final year, Hardman’s focus on separation versus male protection rated the second-very best in the NFL amongst receivers for every PlayerProfiler.com with 2.83 yards of separation for each focus on. Basically, in male coverage cases wherever he was focused, Hardman was acquiring open with some of the best frequency in the NFL.

But hold out, there’s even far more.

You could not think of Hardman as an elite goal in the red zone since of his dimensions and skillset. He only had a 6% contested catch price previous calendar year, which isn’t quite good. But he also concluded 16th in the NFL with 16 targets and 9 receptions in the pink zone. Two of these receptions resulted in touchdowns and the relaxation helped the Chiefs get into position to put up factors.

It’s understandable that individuals are skeptical of Hardman right after his 1st a few seasons in the league. There are also a great deal of explanations to be optimistic that he can prosper in an expanded purpose where he’s asked to do extra than he was in prior seasons.

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