To heap any condemnation upon the shoulders of Chiefs GM Brett Veach would probably be viewed as rather counterproductive. After all, the man helped broker an extremely intricate deal to get Patrick Mahomes to KC and constructed a championship caliber roster that brought the Lombardi Trophy to Kansas City for the first time in 50 years.
No GM is without his faults, however, and looking at Veach’s resume it’s pretty obvious what his biggest miss has been so far: He drafted receiver Mecole Hardman ahead of DK Metcalf in the 2019 NFL Draft.
While Hardman was a solid contributor on KC’s 2019 Super Bowl team (even making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner), Metcalf, drafted eight spots after Hardman by the Seahawks, has emerged as one of the best receivers in the NFL in just his second season.
DK Metcalf Emerging as one of NFL’s Best
Just last night, Metcalf hauled in an impressive game-winning touchdown from Russell Wilson. The Seahawks are 5-0 and Wilson has emerged as the probable MVP. While Metcalf has thrived in 2020, Hardman has struggled. He has just 13 receptions for 194 yards.
The national perception is that the Chiefs may have a plethora of offensive weapons. The truth is, aside from Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins (here and there when healthy), the team has not established a viable third receiver option.
The Numbers Game Hardman vs. Metcalf
|DK Metcalf||2020 Yards Receiving: 496||Touchdowns: 5||Career Yards: 1,396||Career Touchdowns: 12|
|Mecole Hardman||2020 Yards Receiving: 194||Touchdowns: 2||Career Yards: 732||Career Touchdowns: 8|
Brett Veach 2nd Round Misses
Back in 2018, the Chiefs certainly missed on yet another second round prospect. Veach moved up to the 46th pick to snag Breeland Speaks from Ole Miss, a player that is no longer even on the roster. We all know what a crapshoot the NFL Draft can be and Veach has done an impeccable job identifying talent and signing key veterans to long-term deals.
The problem is, Mecole Hardman was always a less-versatile version of a player they already had: Tyreek Hill. Thus far, he’s far closer to Dexter McCluster than an NFL elite like Hill. Meanwhile, DK Metcalf is a 6’4, 229 pound red red zone nightmare, just the player the Chiefs roster is currently missing. The perception is that Hardman is a straight-line speedster, yet both Hardman and Metcalf ran 4.33 40’s at the 2019 NFL Combine.
A Case for Hardman
Hardman provided a much-needed spark in the return game for Kansas City in 2019. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and showed the ability to get behind opposing defenses. The Chiefs have guys like Kelce and Hill to get the ball to regularly while the Seahawks rely heavily on DK has their #1 receiver. He’s still in the second year of his career and still, obviously growing as a route runner and overall player.
Perhaps Veach deserves a free pass for this mistake, but it’s clear NFL defenses are starting to have success defending the Chiefs. While Mecole Hardman is quickly fading into obscurity, Metcalf appears to be on a fast-track to NFL mega-stardom.