Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman reflects on his 2019 NFL draft experience

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The moment a college football player hears their name announced in the NFL draft is a cherished time. The day regardless of what round, will forever change their lives, and each player has a unique story.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman was a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He has since earned a Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors for his special teams excellence and is currently in the mix for a starting receiver spot following the Tyreek Hill trade. Hardman joined fellow University of Georgia alumni Sony Michel, and Roquan Smith for a special NFL hosted Twitter Spaces to discuss their alma mater and draft experiences.

“I ain’t no first-round draft pick like those guys, man, so they got a little bit better stories than mine,” Hardman said. “It definitely was a roller coaster that day um I kind of went the route of being with my family. We got a big suite and just stayed around for the second round of the draft, and like what Sony (Michel) said, that call, it is unbeatable, man. Just getting that call and you know saying then right after the call you hear your name called on the TV it just like a rollercoaster of emotions because you’re like, ‘Man, I want to go here. I want to go there.’ And it’s crazy because Kansas City never really was talking to me at all. Like, I think we have maybe like one conversation, one workout. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, they know they don’t want me type thing.’ Definitely, like, called me, called Mr. Hunt. And you know, and our coaches talking to me and then, like, five seconds later they call my name on the TV. So that was pretty cool.”

Hardman fell to the second round in 2019 and was a key contributor to the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory. He followed up and detailed the moments after hearing his name called during the draft and beginning his career in Kansas City.

“The next day, they sent me a flight,” Hardman explained. “I went to KC and they had this big old day where like a lot of fans come out and greet the draftees and just like these two guys (Sony Michel & Roquan Smith), I was the number one pick basically I was the number one pick for my team. So we did like a big day whatever we came in, and you know, met the coaches met all the fans and everything big greetings and then literally like maybe the next week we was there getting the playbook in our hand, and our playbook is crazy thick. Like I was like, ‘Man, all these plays, how imma learn all these?’ We jumped right into it within like a weekend.”

Hardman was the Chiefs’ first draft pick at No. 56 overall in 2019, as Kansas City didn’t have a first-round selection following the trade to acquire Frank Clark. He was immediately thrown into action with Tyreek Hill suffering a sternoclavicular joint injury in the season opener in Jacksonville.

“I talked to Pat (Patrick Mahomes), you know, conversating with him about certain play calls, concepts. . . So it really came very fast,” Hardman said. “And I think the hardest thing about my process is probably the playbook, honestly, because it took you a long time to really grasp the concepts and everything that coach (Andy) Reid’s on it and the playbook. After all, you have a new play every day. And it’s just like, you know, it’s crazy. Just his mind, his mindset, how it goes in, but it definitely came around very fast.”

Hardman is entering his fourth season with the Chiefs and credits his early success to team veterans. The star players took him under their wings and continue to help him grow today.

“I will still, you know, learn from those guys like Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill,” said Hardman, “So just seeing them work and do the process they took from games and practices just learning from them, man, I think it was cool for them to come in and you know, make my way and showing what I can do to get the ball. . . it was fun to be around those guys and learn from them and just get better every week just watching them. Seeing how it was to really be a pro and how to work like a pro, practice like a pro, take necessary steps for games, then actually go on the field and perform. So this was a big thing for me just learning from those guys and watching them.”

The Chiefs are hoping that Hardman will be ready for an increased role in the 2022 NFL season. The former Bulldog’s experience from draft day to the present has helped him to a great deal of success in the NFL already.

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