Chiefs’ Mecole Hardman can be substantially additional than a gadget receiver in 2022

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

Just one of the most frequent misconceptions is the notion that Hardman only thrives as a gadget receiver. That is to say that he needs manufactured touches, generally guiding the line of scrimmage, in buy to have good results in Andy Reid’s offense. Things like display passes, reverses and so on.

There is no denying this unique position has been a massive component of his video game around the past a few seasons. Previous calendar year, he even excelled at it, recording a whopping 487 yards immediately after the catch, very good for seventh-most amongst receivers in the NFL’s typical time. He will continue to have success in the position, but it will not be the only purpose for him in Kansas Metropolis transferring ahead.

Hardman doesn’t have a good deal of encounter acting as the team’s direct receiver with Tyreek Hill on the sidelines, but when he’s experienced the possibility, he flashed. Back in 2019, Hardman’s common depth of concentrate on was 12.25 from Week 2 through 7 days 5 when Hill was out with a sternoclavicular joint dislocation. This is to say that on ordinary, he was catching passes more than 12 yards previous the line of scrimmage. Hardman’s typical depth of focus on extrapolated around the study course of a season would have been excellent for 36th in the NFL. Hill, who is identified as the league’s premier deep menace, has by no means experienced additional than 12.9 common depth of goal in a solitary year.

For reference, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has led the NFL in regular depth of target in every single of the past two seasons (more than 18 every time). It is difficult to envision Hardman hitting Valdes-Scantling’s figures (specially when they are on the very same team), but it’s not unreasonable to believe he could at minimum match the league regular (all around 10 yards) in a year with a increased share of options.

If that isn’t more than enough proof that Hardman can excel as far more than a gadget receiver, consider how excellent he is at making separation. Past time, Hardman’s focus on separation versus man protection ranked the 2nd-most effective in the NFL between receivers for every PlayerProfiler.com with 2.83 yards of separation for each goal. Mainly, in guy coverage predicaments exactly where he was qualified, Hardman was finding open up with some of the maximum frequency in the NFL.

But hold out, there is even more.

You may not consider of Hardman as an elite focus on in the crimson zone since of his size and skillset. He only experienced a 6% contested catch charge very last 12 months, which isn’t quite great. But he also finished 16th in the NFL with 16 targets and 9 receptions in the crimson zone. Two of individuals receptions resulted in touchdowns and the rest assisted the Chiefs get into placement to put up points.

It’s easy to understand that men and women are skeptical of Hardman immediately after his very first a few seasons in the league. There are also lots of factors to be optimistic that he can prosper in an expanded function in which he’s asked to do a lot more than he was in prior seasons.