On Thursday, Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr gave an Independence Day preview of 19 NFL rookies who could make an impact on fantasy football teams in 2019 — all of them taken from SI’s fantasy football magazine for the coming season.
Nine of them were wide receivers — and one of those WRs was Kansas City Chiefs rookie wideout Mecole Hardman.
The selection of Hardman in the second round probably telegraphed Kansas City’s expectations for Tyreek Hill, who is facing a possible suspension. While the 5’10”, 187-pound Hardman isn’t an exact clone of Hill, he’s going to run a similar route tree and punish teams who employ the popular Cover 3 defense against Mahomes.
Like many other analysts, Orr believes Hardman’s selection by the Chiefs in the second round was about replacing Hill’s production during what is presumed to be his upcoming NFL suspension.
It’s indeed difficult to imagine that this wasn’t at least part of the Chiefs’ thinking during the draft — but as Orr himself notes, Hardman is also a player with a very similar profile to Hill’s. Hill has been very successful in head coach Andy Reid’s offense. Why wouldn’t the Chiefs try to find a player in the draft who has similarities to Hill — whether he is facing a suspension or not?
With what we know now, we believe Hardman will make the Chiefs roster primarily as a kick returner in 2019. But if Hill ends up with a lengthy suspension — or if Sammy Watkins cannot remain on the field — Hardman could get significant playing time at wide receiver this season.
Will Mecole Hardman have more than 500 receiving yards in 2019?
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