While many Super Bowl rosters inevitably suffer higher than average turnover, Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach has set the defending champions up to return as many as 20 of 22 starters this coming season.
Most notably for head coach Andy Reid is the continuity of his offensive skill players, including impending free agent WR Demarcus Robinson, who signed a new 1-year deal in late March, and WR Sammy Watkins, who agreed to a restructured 1-year, $9 million deal to provide the team some much-needed salary cap relief.
In addition to two-time All-Pro WRTyreek Hill and TETravis Kelce, the league’s No. 5 passing offense from 2019 should also see a boost in production from sophomore WR Mecole Hardman — or so believes Hill.
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Hill Says ‘No Ceiling’ For Hardman
Despite formidable competition for targets in Kansas City, the 22-year-old Hardman made his presence known last season with 538 yards and six scores on only 26 receptions, good for a league-best 20.7 yards per catch among receivers with at least 25 catches.
The Chiefs’ second-round pick was also electrifying as a returner, racking up 167 punt return yards and 704 kick return yards, including a 104-yard touchdown during the Week 17 regular season finale versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Hardman’s playmaking ability earned him a Pro Bowl nod, selected as the starting kick returner for the AFC squad.
On Friday, Hill shared his thoughts on the career trajectory of his speedy second-year protege with the Kansas City media.
“Well, I think Mecole (Hardman) is going to continue to be a heck of a player,” Hill told reporters. “But it’s all about mindset. I feel like if he continues to do what he has been doing in the past and works his butt off, he’s going to be amazing.
The four-time Pro Bowler, who was on pace for his third consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2019 before a collarbone injury forced him to miss a month of action, foresees 1,000-yard campaigns as a regular occurrence for Hardman in the years to come.
“There is no ceiling for this kid,” Hill said. “I feel like he’s definitely a 1,000-yard receiver every year — with the targets, obviously. He’s just got to continue to work. He’s got to be different. He’s got to find something to be different at every year. It just can’t be speed. It just can’t be relying on outrunning everyone — because sometimes, it’s going to be a contested catch. Sometimes, it’s going to be — you got to get off a jam. You got to work on those things. I feel like he is going to work on those things because he wants to be great and he wants to be a part of this offense. He likes the challenge, so he’s going to be great.”
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