Is Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman really a reliable target for Patrick Mahomes behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill?
Hardman’s snap count has seen a dramatic drop since Week 7, so much so that he’s become an afterthought in the Chiefs’ offensive gameplan. It’s hard to question Andy Reid, especially considering the Chiefs’ issues with drops so far this season — they have 20 so far this year.
“I tell you,” Cris Collinsworth said during the Chiefs’ primetime matchup against the Broncos. “If you are not named Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce, you do not want to drop balls.”
He makes a valid point. Ever since the Chiefs let Sammy Watkins go — not that he was all that reliable — the Chiefs haven’t been able to find a reliable No. 3 option in the passing game. Hardman hasn’t been it, period, despite showing flashes in previous seasons. Byron Pringle has some moments, sure, but can he be relied upon either? Demarcus Robinson is…well, he’s just Demarcus Robinson.
Odds are, all three are a little less than what Patrick Mahomes deserves.
Chiefs: Is it time to give up on Mecole Hardman?
Hardman isn’t getting much of an opportunity in special teams, either. He’s been basically removed from his previous role as punt returner by special teams coordinator Dave Toub.
Eric Bieniemy hinted that Hardman would be getting more chances in the passing game, but his snap count suggests otherwise. The Georgia product’s third year was supposed to be his breakout, but instead his numbers are pretty consistent with his previous two years.
So far this year, Hardman has 43 catches for 436 yards. While that’s a small improvement year over year, it’s not indicative as a true No. 2 or No. 3 target in the Chiefs offense. If anything, it’s too similar to his numbers from his rookie and sophomore campaigns, where as much wasn’t expected from him.
At this point, maybe that’s just what Hardman is. A flash in the pan and change-of-pace player, but not someone who can be relied upon in the same breath as Kelce and Hill.
With the Chiefs’ entering the most vital part of the regular season, Hardman will hopefully have more chances to prove himself in the passing game.