Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman Bashes Haters on Twitter Prior to Week 2 Game

Getty Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman

Coming into the NFL, many — myself included — assumed that second-round pick Mecole Hardman would be another version of Tyreek Hill playing opposite of Tyreek Hill in the Kansas City Chiefs offense. However, that’s not how it has played out thus far.

Hardman showed promise during his rookie season; the speedster caught 26 of 41 targets for 538 yards — a whopping 20.7 yards per receptions — and six touchdowns, per Pro Football reference. But his second season in the NFL didn’t resemble the same kind of promise as his rookie season. In 2020, Hardman gathered 41 of 62 targets for 560 yards — 13.7 yards per reception — and four touchdowns.

You could argue that Hardman has most of his most damage as a punt returner during his first two years in the NFL. In 2020 he gathered the 14th most punt return yards in the NFL (176) but only averaged 7.0 yards per return, per Team Rankings. To put that into context, New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers recorded the 13th most punt return yards last season (187) and averaged 12.5 yards per return. Detroit Lions’ Jamal Agnew is 15th in the league (178) and averaged 12.7 yards per return.

This has caused Hardman to draw a lot of criticism, especially after his Week 1 performance against the Cleveland Browns in which he reeled in three catches on three targets for 19 yards. And Hardman has seemingly had enough of it.

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Hardman Claps Back at Haters

Using Twitter to vent his frustrations, Hardman pushed out a couple tweets on Friday that expressed his opinion of those who are criticizing him. While he later opted to delete those posts, Heavy.com was able to screenshot the tweets before they disappeared.

The first tweet Hardman sent said, “I hate when people say I don’t run the correct routes? like ya’ll must know the playbook or [something]?”

Getty Screenshot of Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman’s Twitter account

Hardman followed that up by saying, “Also stop comparing me to WRs in my class..they are the #1 option on there team! And none of them can come to this team and be a 1st or 2nd option! I wonder about people sometimes.”

GettyScreenshot of Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman’s Twitter account


2019 Draft Class

One of the most common ways to compare players in the NFL is by cross examining their production to others that came out at the same position in the same draft class.

Unfortunately in Hardman’s case, doing that doesn’t make a strong case for the third-year receiver. 2019 was a very strong wide receiver class. A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, Marquise Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Diontae Johnson, Darius Slayton, and Hunter Renfrow are some of the pass catchers that entered the NFL that year, and all of them have provided much value to their respective teams over the past couple seasons. All of them have registered more receiving yards in a single season compared to Hardman, and all but three of them of them were selected after Hardman in that draft — A. Brown, M. Brown and Samuel being the exceptions.

Yes, the team each of them were drafted to does matter. A. Brown, McLaurin, Samuel, M. Brown, Metcalf, Johnson and Renfrow are the No. 1 targets at the wide receiver position on their respective teams, though Samuel and Renfrow are the No. 2 overall options behind tight ends George Kittle and Darren Waller in those passing attacks. But that’s not the case for Hardman. He’s not only the No. 2 option among receivers in the passing game on his team, but he’s No. 3 in the pecking order among targets, and there’s a wide margin between him and the No. 2 target, which is Hill. Hill was targeted 135 times during the 2020 season, per Pro Football Reference, which is over double the amount of targets that Hardman received that season.

With that being said, Hardman still needs to do more. Yes, the opportunities may be a bit more scarce compared to other receivers from his draft class. But Hardman is part of the most explosive offense in the NFL, which is quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes, one of the most prolific passers the league has ever seen. That’s why Hardman needs to make a significant leap in terms of production soon, otherwise some of the criticism he has and will continue to receive is warranted.

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