The Kansas City Chiefs traded up to select wide receiver Mecole Hardman with the No. 56 selection of the 2019 NFL Draft on Friday night, making the speedy wideout Kansas City’s first selection this year.
Here are five things to know about the Chiefs’ new receiver.
1. He was a big-play machine at the University of Georgia
Hardman hauled in 59 catches for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns in his last 29 games for the Bulldogs, averaging 16.1 yards per catch.
He tallied seven catches of 30+ yards – and four of at least 50+ yards - last season alone.
2. Hardman is a dynamic return-man, too
One of the top return-men in the nation, Hardman earned All-America First-Team honors at kick returner in 2018 from the folks at ESPN. He was a Second-Team selection by Sports Illustrated.
He averaged 20.1 yards per punt return in 2018 – falling just shy of NCAA minimum qualification rankings – but would have ranked second in the nation had he qualified.
3. He’s fast – really fast
Hardman possesses blazing speed, plain and simple. His 4.33 40-yard dash was the fifth-fastest among all players at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year (and third among receivers).
And, as his stats suggest, it’s translated to the football field. Check out this 80-yard grab in the National Championship Game a year ago.
Or this one against Missouri last year.
4. Hardman was a highly-touted recruit out of high school, where he played both cornerback and quarterback
Ranked as the No. 2 athlete in the country according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout.com, Hardman was a star on both sides of the ball for Elbert County High School in Bowman, Ga. He earned a trip to the U.S. Army All-America Bowl as a senior, where he lined up at wide receiver and caught three passes for 36 yards.
The Bulldogs had Hardman at defensive back for his first year on campus, but switched him over to the offense in 2017. It turned out to be a wise decision.
5. It looks like he already has a friend in the locker room
Chiefs’ second-year guard Kahlil McKenzie tweeted this moments after Hardman heard his name called.
All these years later, the two players are reunited in Kansas City.