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Which Chief is the team’s key homegrown player?

Gregg Rosenthal picked a key homegrown player for every NFL franchise. He selected a good one for the Chiefs — but other players could also fit the bill.

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, NFL.com ‘s Gregg Rosenthal published a list of what he called the “key homegrown player” for each NFL franchise. He described these as players who could make a big difference for their teams by taking a step forward in 2020.

He made some interesting choices, selecting second-year defensive end Clelin Ferrell of the Las Vegas Raiders, the Los Angeles Chargers’ fourth-year safety Rayshawn Jenkins and Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb, who is entering his third season.

For the Kansas City Chiefs, he picked the sophomore wide receiver Mecole Hardman.

It felt like Hardman caught more than 26 passes because so many of them went for big plays. A second-team All-Pro kick returner as a rookie, Hardman might not be Tyreek Hill 2.0, but he could enjoy a similar second-year leap. Andy Reid always has a plan, and Hardman’s role is set to expand after he played 471 offensive snaps as a 21-year-old rookie. There are only so many yards to go around, with Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins gobbling up attention, but Hardman doesn’t need a lot of touches to make a big impact. His speed generated seven catches over 30 yards, often on short or intermediate throws in which he’d run through the opposition’s zone defense, which was seemingly surprised the Chiefs found another player so fast.

Honestly... Rosenthal’s pick makes a lot of sense — particularly if you see the Chiefs as a team entirely dependent on its offense. While that was certainly true in 2018, it was significantly less true in 2019 under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. While the team’s ardent fans understand this pretty well, it seems to be less-commonly understood at the national level.

So it’s fair to wonder if a better candidate for a key homegrown player might be on the defensive side of the ball — perhaps someone like Tanoh Kpassagnon, Breeland Speaks or Rashad Fenton. if Kpassagnon can make another stride forward in 2020, he could help solidify the outside pass rush for years to come. While his season-long injury in 2019 robbed him of the same chance to develop in the new scheme, the same could be said for Speaks. And if he can step up in the secondary, Fenton could solve a lot of problems for the Chiefs in 2021 — and beyond.

What do you think?

Poll

Which Chief is the key homegrown player for 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Mecole Hardman
    (444 votes)
  • 26%
    Tanoh Kpassagnon
    (354 votes)
  • 7%
    Breeland Speaks
    (102 votes)
  • 17%
    Rashad Fenton
    (240 votes)
  • 14%
    Someone else
    (196 votes)
1336 votes total Vote Now

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