KC Chiefs training camp: Meet the wide receivers competing in 2022

JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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\Mecole Hardman #17 of the Kansas City Chiefs
Mecole Hardman #17 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

#17 Mecole Hardman

College: Georgia
Years Pro: 4 (24 years old)
Chance of Making the Roster: Near Lock

Mecole Hardman is somewhat of a divisive figure in Kansas City. Some believe that he is capable of taking over a bigger role in the offense while others see him as a “gadget” or “role” player. There is no question that Tyreek Hill was the fastest player on the roster last season, but a close second was Mecole Hardman. This year will be very telling as far as Hardman’s longevity with the team. If he can emerge as a consistent threat, he may get re-signed. If he proves that he is a gadget player, the chances of being re-signed are considerably lower.

For this season, Hardman will almost definitely hold a roster spot. He is the only speedster outside of Marquez Valdez-Scantling on the roster. He will be featured as both a slot guy and as a screen-play target. Hardman can hit home runs and go the distance at better consistency than any other player on the roster. With that in mind, this season will have an enormous impact on his pocketbook next season.

#12 Josh Gordon

College: Baylor
Years Pro: 6 (31 years old)
Chance of Making the Roster: On the Bubble

If there was ever a true “roster spot battle.” It is for the fifth (and possibly sixth?) receiver spot. Josh Gordon will likely start training camp as the frontrunner for that spot. Gordon’s top-level talent of old has not showcased itself since Gordon played in New England in 2018. That season, in 11 games, Gordon posted a stat line of 40 receptions, 720 yards, and 3 touchdowns. While Gordon saw quite a bit of playing time in 2021, this season he will be fighting for his career in Kansas City.

Gordon’s ability to make the roster will depend on how well he plays in this offense. Gordon does not seem like he could take the proverbial spot of the young whippersnapper that is willing to put it all on the line in special teams.  If Gordon can get in good shape and take a portion of the snaps with the ones, he may find himself a spot on the roster. If not, he will likely lose his job to a younger receiver on the preseason roster.

#82 Daurice Fountain

College: Northern Iowa
Years Pro: 4 (26 years old)
Chance of Making the Roster: On the Bubble

Daurice Fountain is a familiar face this time around. While he was a new arrival last season, he will have the luxury of knowing the ropes of Saint Joseph at Chiefs’ training camp. Fountain spent the majority of last season on the practice squad or inactive at game time. Although some fans would have liked to see him get a real shot at playing time, the Chiefs only allowed him to appear in two games in 2021.

Once again, Fountain will likely find himself in a similar role. He may be in between the practice squad and the bottom of the roster if he makes the final roster. That being said, his ability to even make the bottom of the roster will be much harder than a season ago.