Unfortunately, Mecole Hardman’s second season has not started off as well as we’d like for it to. After a solid rookie campaign, we expected Hardman to explode into 2020 in spectacular fashion breaking 1000 yards and at least 7 TDs. Sadly, this has not been the case. This lack of production can be boiled down into two specific reasons, lack of opportunity and poor overall play. Luckily, Hardman has the potential to overcome this cold streak this week against the Ravens.
Lack of Opportunities
Though not from lack of trying, Mecole has not seen the field as much as he probably should be. Over the past two weeks he has only been on the field for 47% of the snaps (this includes the plays after theSammy Watkins injury). This has been in part because of Demarcus Robinson, who has been the Chiefs reliable third option for the past three years. With a total of 10 targets, 6 catches, and 2 drops on the season, Robinson’s role is up for grabs in the receiver room. Hardman’s modest 4 targets and 3 receptions leaves room for an increase in production come next week.
Even Mecole knows he hasn’t been playing up to par. Multiple times during the Chiefs v Chargers game Hardman walked his way to the sideline patting his chest to take ownership of the mistakes he made during the previous play. It’s obvious that he and Mahomes are not on the same page when it comes to recognizing coverages. Whether it’s not breaking off routes to take advantage of a particular coverage or not working back to Mahomes after the play has broken down, Hardman has not been playing well enough to get the nod at WR2. However, with the injury to Sammy Watkins he has an opportunity to work out the kinks and get back on track in developing into a solid receiving option for Mahomes.
Potential After Sammy Watkins Injury
With Sammy out for the near future Mecole Hardman will definitely see more time on the field. An increase from 65% of snaps to 75-80% of snaps would not come as a surprise. This increase in snaps will come only as a result of necessity. Mecole has not shown enough to the coaching staff to make them feel secure in putting him on the field. An increase from 3 targets (last week) to 6 or 7 targets looks to be in the forecast as well. My final projection for Mecole Hardman in week 3 against the Ravens is 6 targets, 4 catches, 60 yards, and 1 TD. Mecole will need to step up his game if the Chiefs plan on bouncing back after a horrific performance against the Chargers in week 2.