The field is getting a bit crowded with playmakers on offense for the Chiefs. In the coming weeks, it’s only going to get worse.
The Chiefs officially landed reinstated wide receiver Josh Gordon earlier this week, although he’s sitting out this particular game as he gets back into game shape and learns the offense. That means it’s only a matter of time until a big physical target joins an offense that already includes Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and more.
In short, Mecole Hardman’s chances of making the leap are growing slimmer by the week.
Coming into this season, Hardman was hopefully going to enjoy a breakout effort. The Chiefs watched Sammy Watkins walk in free agency without a clear replacement (despite their best efforts), but as the preseason came into view, it looked as if the team was going to focus on giving Hardman significant opportunities to turn the corner and show himself to be worthy of more targets.
Fast forward three games, Hardman is earning more targets. It’s a small sample size, but he’s averaging five per game, which would equate to 80 in a standard 16-game season. That’s 18 more than he had last year and that’s a solid range for a wideout on this roster not named Tyreek. However, Hardman’s average yards/target have dropped significantly as he’s been forced to accept shorter underneath routes in which the defense is stacked on top.
Hardman’s longest reception thus far is only 19 yards, and his pace for yardage this year is less than 600 total yards. That’s right around where he’s averaged his first two seasons in K.C.
The addition of Gordon is going to crowd out some of those targets and it looks like any notion of Hardman as bigger influence might be lost. But there’s one game here in front of him in which he can showcase more growth and showcase what the Jet can do.