On Wednesday’s mailbag edition of the Arrowhead Pride Out of Structure podcast, Matt Stagner and I argued about whether we’d prefer to see Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman or safety Juan Thornhill make their first Pro Bowl in 2021. Both are entering their third NFL season — and both will have big roles to fill in their respective units.
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Each of us made a case for one of them:
Ron: S Juan Thornhill
If Thornhill can elevate to the level of recent AFC Pro Bowl safeties such as the New York Jets’ Jamal Adams (now with the Seattle Seahawks) or the Denver Broncos’ Justin Simmons, it could make life so much easier on the rest of the defense — specifically the cornerbacks and linebackers — especially when paired with Tyrann Mathieu, who’s been a first-team All-Pro for the last two years.
When you have safeties who have as much range as these two — especially Thornhill’s explosiveness and speed when healthy — it really helps the defense’s second level in pass coverage. If Thornhill excels in those aspects enough to earn a Pro Bowl nod, it will make everyone else on the defense better.
Stags: WR Mecole Hardman
Given how he affects so many other players around him, I can see the case for Thornhill. But to me, Hardman is the obvious choice. With him playing at an explosive Pro Bowl level, the offense would be out-of-control good. Even if he’s just a 600-yard, seven-touchdown guy — which he’s already shown he can be — the offense will still be great. But it’s hard to fathom what they could be with another Pro Bowl receiver. Thornhill has already been playing at a high level — but the Chiefs have some other options at safety, so you might not see as big of a difference whether he takes that next step or not.
Weigh in with your answer below!
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