Mecole Hardman already showing off Tyreek Hill-esque speed at OTAs

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor

There’s still plenty of uncertainty in the Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason, most of which revolves around wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

After audio came out relating to Hill’s alleged child abuse, the league is weighing a punishment that could keep him out for the entire 2019 season. Although the Chiefs were quick to release running back Kareem Hunt after video emerged of him shoving and kicking a woman, Hill would be much harder to replace.

Fortunately for the Chiefs, they’ve already invested serious draft capital at wide receiver in second-round pick Mecole Hardman. The former Georgia Bulldogs speedster will have big shoes to fill, but he’s acquitting himself well during OTAs.

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“Yeah, it’s been good,” head coach Andy Reid said on Thursday. “I can’t tell you it’s been a ton of team reps, but the reps he’s had he’s done very well with. Mecole’s getting better every day, that’s been kind of fun to watch.”

Hardman didn’t produce much at Georgia — just 961 yards over three seasons — but he has the tools to be a star. His 4.33 second 40-yard dash was tied for the fifth-fastest at the NFL scouting combine, and that game-changing speed is evident immediately to anyone watching him.

Former Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman could be a natural Tyreek Hill replacement. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Former Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman could be a natural Tyreek Hill replacement. (AP Photo/John Amis)

“He’s a great player,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “Obviously, he’s very fast, but he’s working on everything, route-running, getting accustomed to the offense, I was very excited. When you add guys and add depth, it really is a special thing to know that the staff and everybody keeps adding and are never satisfied with where we are at, we are going to keep getting better every single year.”

That speed will be especially crucial while filling in for Hill, who led the NFL with 15.0 yards per touch last season. Although he was not invited to the combine, Hill has a personal best of 4.25 in the 40.

There’s much more to playing receiver than being fast — combine record-holder John Ross has only 210 yards in two seasons — but every moment Hardman can bond with Mahomes will be key for the Chiefs’ Super Bowl aspirations.

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