No. 3: Wide Receiver Mecole Hardman
Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman made one of the biggest gaffes of the AFC Championship game early, muffing a punt which the Bills recovered and turned into points to help build what was then an early lead.
But Hardman made up for it later, getting a 50-yard run later in the game to help Kansas City build upon its dominant lead.
Needless to say, Hardman’s overall impact in that game was a net positive despite the earlier mistake.
Hardman is Patrick Mahomes’ tertiary receiving option behind tight end Travis Kelce and fellow wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Yet that’s not the prime reason why the speedy Hardman is such a threat to Tampa Bay’s defense.
In addition to the speed factor, it’s how Kansas City uses Hardman on offense. That 50-yard play in the AFC championship was on a run, and Andy Reid hasn’t shied away from using his faster players in a variety of roles. Sure, Hardman managed just four rushing attempts during the regular season.
But one figures Reid will want to use Hardman in a specialty play not exactly seen during the regular season.
As such, the Buccaneers better be on guard.