Mecole Hardman was the second player from the Georgia Football program to be selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. The speedy wide receiver will continue his football career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Georgia Football has added nine more players to the NFL ranks, now that the 2019 NFL Draft is done. Cornerback Deandre Baker was the first Georgia Bulldog to be drafted, being selected number 30 by the New York Giants. Most draft analysts projected wide receiver Riley Ridley or edge rusher D’Andre Walker to be the second UGA player drafted this year. Surprisingly Mecole Hardman earned that honor being selected with pick number 24 in round two, by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mecole Hardman who hails from Bowman, Georgia is a 5’10 187 pound wide receiver. Hardman was an option quarterback and an all state defensive back in High School, but was converted to wide receiver during his time at UGA. He did not see the field much as freshman for the Bulldogs aside from special teams. However Mecole burst onto the scene as a sophomore, catching four touchdowns gaining over 400 yards as a receiver.
This past year. Mecole Hardman improved is totals to 543 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also adds value as a ball carrier on jet sweep plays. He averaged 7.5 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns on the ground on 13 rushing attempts in his college career. The versatile Hardman is also an explosive kick returner. He gained nearly 600 punt return yards as a Georgia Bulldog with one touchdown, and gained 875 yards as a kick returner. That’s a very impressive average of 25 yards per return.
Mecole Hardman is blazing fast. He was the fastest Georgia Bulldogs player at the NFL Combine, running the 40 yard dash in 4.33 seconds. This gives him the ability to take the top off of defenses. Hardman isn’t just fast, he’s also very agile, he is able to cut and turn instantly without losing speed. He also has great vision when running the football on jet sweeps. His skills as a return man on both kick and punt returns adds to his versatility and value.
Mecole Hardman is good at tracking the football in the air, but his inability to play through contact will make it difficult for him to win many jump balls in the NFL. Hardman has only played the wide receiver position for three seasons. This can be both a positive and a negative. Hardman is still raw but, he has a high ceiling. He could be a great player once he learns the nuances of playing the position. Currently he does have a tendency to lose focus and drop a few passes. Mecole will be best suited in the slot or put in motion, in order to keep bigger cornerbacks from pressing him at the line of scrimmage.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared Mecole Hardman to Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett. Yet when he offered this summary before the draft, he compared Hardman to another explosive wide receiver:
"Raw but explosive with burst to uncover underneath and a second gear to threaten over the top. Hardman is a relative newcomer to the position and it shows up at times in routes and his struggles competing for the ball in traffic. Hardman could develop into a lesser version of Tyreek Hill with his playmaking potential after the catch, on deep balls and as a returner. Speed kills in today’s game and Hardman’s could be coveted on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3)"
Speaking of Tyreek Hill, the Douglas, Georgia native has found himself in hot water. A child abuse case against him has just been reopened by Kansas City authorities. The story can be read on NFL.com by clicking here. If Mecole Hardman is indeed the replacement for Hill, he has some big shoes to fill. One thing is for sure, Mecole has the physical skill set to play the role. Dawg nation will definitely be watching and rooting for him.