Mecole Hardman sounds off on critics: Stop comparing me to WRs in my draft class

By , Audacy Sports

Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman fired back at some of his critics on social media on Friday -- only to later delete the post.

The third-year wideout vented his frustration in response to a user on Twitter, seemingly taking exception to comparisons to the other wide receivers in his draft class, as well as critiques of his route-running.

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"Stop comparing me to WRs in my class," Hardman said. "They are the #1 option on there team! And none of them can come to this team and be a 1st or 2nd option! I wonder about people sometimes."

The Chiefs selected Hardman in the back half of the second round in 2019, in what turned out to be a deeper class of wide receivers than some pundits had forecasted.

Hardman was taken ahead of future standouts such as DK Metcalf, Diontae Johnson, and Terry McLaurin, while several notable pass-catchers were taken ahead of him, including AJ Brown, Deebo Samuel, N'Keal Harry and Marquise Brown.

While Hardman has been far from a bust -- he has 70 career catches for 1,117 yards and 10 touchdowns in 33 games through Week 1 -- his progress has been slower than some Chiefs fans and fantasy football participants would have hoped.

There's no doubt Tyreek Hill is the Chiefs' No. 1 wide receiver, but the depth chart is a little less clear after that. With Sammy Watkins gone, the No. 2 receiver spot seemingly belongs to Hardman, but tight end Travis Kelce is a top target along with Hill.

With just over 106 career targets in his 33 games, Hardman has averaged only about 3-4 looks per game, not counting rushing attempts or touches in the return game.

All of it points to Hardman profiling as a secondary or tertiary option, or a dangerous gadget guy.

This offseason, he said it was a goal to become a more integral part of the offense, and he was a trendy pick to break out in 2021. But after catching all three of his targets for just 19 yards in the Chiefs' season-opener, it looked like it could be more of the same.

While it's tempting to suggest Hardman is what he is at this point in his career, he only took up playing wide receiver in his second year with the Georgia Bulldogs, after previously playing cornerback and lining up under center in high school.

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