Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill named to 2019 PFWA All-Rookie team
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs’ top two rookies drafted have been named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie team for the year.
Brett Veach’s latest draft class continues to draw plenty of praise from draft analysts and media outlets now that the season is nearing its end, and the latest honors given to a couple of the Kansas City Chiefs’ rookies come from the Pro Football Writers of America, who have named Mecole Hardman and Juan Thornhill to their 2019 All-Rookie team.
Veach, the Chiefs general manager, traded away his first round pick in a deal with the Seattle Seahawks that brought in Frank Clark as a defensive cornerstone along the front line. From there, Veach only had six total picks that didn’t begin until late in the second round in order to bolster a veteran team. The good news is that he largely worked his draft magic to make sure those picks were impact selections.
Specifically in the second round, Veach used his choices on wide receiver Mecole Hardman and safety Juan Thornhill. Hardman stepped in to be the Chiefs primary returner and another dangerous, speedy threat for the team’s offense. Hardman not only made the Pro Bowl for the AFC but he also led all NFL receivers with at least 10 receptions with 20.7 yards/catch average. Now Hardman has made the PFWA’s team as returner as well.
Thornhill is one of two safeties to make the team, along with Darnell Savage of the Green Bay Packers, and most fans would likely name him the top rookie of the season. Despite being out right now with a torn ACL for the rest of the postseason, Thornhill started all 16 games next to Tyrann Mathieu and helped turn around the Chiefs secondary just one year after a disastrous turn under Bob Sutton.
The Chiefs won’t get credit from the PFWA for this, but the draft class also includes the promise of defensive tackle Khalen Saunders, the surprisingly versatile play of corner Rashad Fenton, the potential in running back Darwin Thompson, and the hope of finding a gem in offensive lineman Nick Allegretti.