As if the Kansas City Chiefs needed more speed in their lineup, they made a relatively bold move in April at the NFL Draft. That’s when they traded up five spots, giving up two picks along the way, to draft Mecole Hardman, a wide receiver out of the University of Georgia.
He had only been at the position for two years, having converted from cornerback. So you might say he knows both sides of the equation. Well, actually three sides, as he contributes to the third phase of the game as a kick returner.
He’s been an amazing and welcome addition to the squad, and the only thing that prevented him from playing in the Pro Bowl is the fact that he is in the Super Bowl. By the way, in case you didn’t know, that’s scheduled for 6:30 PM ET on Sunday (Feb. 2) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Hardman runs a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. So one can imagine that he would cause some consternation in the minds of opposing defensive coordinators if he could be polished as a wide receiver. Maybe he’s not all that refined just yet, but he is creating headaches nonetheless.
There are several Super Bowl props you can enjoy at BetAnySports that have Hardman as a focus. Let’s go over a couple of them.
MECOLE HARDMAN’S FIRST RECEPTION
Hardman 1st reception under 12½ yards (or no receptions) -180
Hardman 1st reception over 12½ yards +158
Chiefs’ management had something very specific on their minds when they made the deal to draft Hardman. That was “insurance” of sorts because of the concern about Tyreek Hill’s child abuse beef. They needed someone who could really “motor.”
And they got him.
As it turned out, Hill did not miss much time. Hardman wound up replacing him as the team’s primary punt returner, and made an impact on kickoff returns, averaging 26.1 yards a pop (with a touchdown). He’s got scary speed.
And Andy Reid has fashioned a way to make his presence felt as a receiver.
Here’s another prop, which asks BetAnySports customers to handicap how far Hardman will travel on his longest catch of the day – and makes provisions for him not having a catch at all:
MECOLE HARDMAN’S LONGEST RECEPTION
Hardman longest reception under 15½ yards (or no receptions) -145
Hardman longest reception over 15½ yards +125
Hardman is a legitimate big-play guy. He scored seven touchdowns this season, and leaves you with the impression that he can score at any time from anywhere on the field. In that way he is a lot like Hill.
On the season, he caught just 26 passes, and he averaged 20.7 yards per reception, which would have led the league had he had enough of them.
If you’re interested in more numbers (and why shouldn’t you be?), Hardman has also averaged 18.5 yards every time he touches the ball, and 13.1 yards per target. So we assume that if Patrick Mahomes is going to try to get the ball to him (and there’s no reason he shouldn’t), it’s likely to be something designed to go down the field.
We understand that the 49ers are second in the NFL in defending against “explosiveness” in the passing game. But while we realize that they may gear up to smother Hill, they will have a hard time shutting Hardman down completely. So if he snags the football, he’ll eat up some yards.
Accordingly, the OVER on both of these props, at attractive prices, looks good to us.
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