Morning Huddle – Chiefs’ rookie camp takeaways: Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill make strong first impressions

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We look at a roundup of news regarding Chiefs rookie mini camp.

Chiefs news for 7 May 2019

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Chiefs to sign James Madison RB Marcus Marshall following rookie minicamp | Chiefs Wire

At 5-10 and 200 pounds, Marshall brings a build that the Chiefs don’t currently have on the roster. He’s somewhere between Darwin Thompson and James Williams in terms of size and stature. He also brings a unique blend of rushing expertise and special teams prowess to the Chiefs’ roster.

Marshall rushed for 1,296 yards and 17 touchdowns during his two-year stint at James Madison. He also was a kick returner for the Dukes during his junior season, averaging over 20 yards per return. Marshall began his career at Georgia Tech, where he added another 8 touchdowns and 1,273 rushing yards in two seasons. That brings his college totals to over 2,500 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.

It’s unclear who the Chiefs will release in order to make room for this signing. The roster currently sits at 90 players, so they will need to make a corresponding move before making Marshall’s signing official

Chiefs threw playbook at rookie Mecole Hardman, K.C.’s insurance policy for Tyreek Hill | Yahoo! Sports

This was Monday, the third and final day of the Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie minicamp, and after sprinting down the field as a scout-team gunner, Mecole Hardman was tired. He had spent the better part of the past three days lining up anywhere and everywhere. Slot receiver. Outside receiver. Punt return. Punt team. You name it, Hardman played it.

With the
 uncertainty surrounding Chiefs All-Pro Tyreek Hill, the team has thrown the playbook at Hardman to see what sticks. Comparisons to Hill — due to their similar size and speed — be darned.

“I feel like I’m myself, you know?” Hardman said, when asked how he compares to Hill. “I think I’m Mecole Hardman. I think I can do the things I want to do [on the field].”

Chiefs’ top draft pick Mecole Hardman impresses coach Andy Reid at rookie minicamp | The Kansas City Star

“Every day he got a little better,” Reid said. “These are all new. These routes are new to him. He did a nice job in the red zone, which normally is the toughest place to work, but he did extremely well there. He had a good finish.”

With Hill’s future up in the air, Hardman is an important piece in both the return game and as a receiver. He showed bursts of speed in special teams drills toward the end of Monday’s practice, cutting around gunners to get to the sideline after fielding a punt, then cutting back inside to elude more would-be tacklers.

To digest Reid’s complex playbook, Hardman tried his best to simplify the plays.

“The quicker you can learn, the quicker you can play,” Hardman said. “The more you can play, the more confident you play. So, it was fun being out there with the coaches learning the playbook. It’s coming easy right now, hopefully I can get it down to where I can play fast and confident.”

Chiefs’ rookie camp takeaways: Mecole Hardman, Juan Thornhill make strong first impressions | The Athletic

Hardman didn’t catch a touchdown in Monday’s scrimmage when Thornhill was the primary defender in the middle of the field. Thornhill performed so well during the camp that the Chiefs are optimistic the rookie could share some snaps with the first-team defense during the full organized team practices.

“Every day he got his hands on the ball,” Reid said of Thornhill. “He almost had (another interception) here in the red zone (Monday). It looks like he’s got a pretty good feel for things. He’s got a little bit of a knack there, a good worker. He’s smart, but you have to have that feel back there, and he seems to have it.”

Another positive sign: Thornhill was one of the most vocal defenders on the field. He celebrated solid plays from his teammates, and he encouraged the unit to not let the offense score. Thornhill said he learned to play with such passion from watching Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs’ star strong safety, who will serve as his mentor in the secondary.

Wide receiver Jamal Custis talks about how excited he was to be invited and participate in the Chiefs rookie minicamp | The Kansas City Star

Re-examining safety Juan Thornhill: What is the Chiefs’ best-case scenario for the second-round pick? | The Athletic

Thornhill is close to the line of scrimmage here rather than deep, but the skills he shows translate well to free safety. He sees where the throw is likely going and moves to cut off the throwing lane. He’s able to run at close to full speed while keeping his head turned and watching for the ball, something even most cornerbacks can’t do. He then makes a perfect play on the ball, stepping in front of the receiver and catching it at a high point rather than waiting for it to fall to him.

Since ball skills have come up multiple times, it should be discussed more thoroughly. Thornhill’s ball skills might be the best in the draft, and that’s the biggest reason to believe he could excel as a free safety in the NFL.

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Berserker
Berserker

This been posted here yet? CBS posted it yesterday: From Eric Berry to Ndamukong Suh, predicting where the top 10 remaining NFL free agents will land

LB Jamie Collins, Kansas City Chiefs

Unless the Patriots bring back their old friend or the Baltimore Ravens get creative to replace C.J. Mosley, Collins seems like the kind of luxury upgrade Andy Reid would love to give Steve Spagnuolo. Kansas City’s LB situation isn’t insanely bad (<- this is false, our LB situation is actually insanely bad), but with some money to spare, they can afford to find a place for Collins, especially since LB was the one position the Chiefs didn't address in the draft. They've already been aggressive to upgrade the defense, so why not finish it off? Collins got paid. Now he can contend.

hayoli
hayoli

If he’s an upgrade make it so! If we had LB and CB help I’d feel pretty good.

NHChiefsfan
NHChiefsfan

Yeah. I could see this happening. We need help at LB.

QuackTastic
QuackTastic

Mecole’s gigabytes might be a strong reason why they took him over other receivers who produced more in college. That and his speed, obviously. But smarts are a big thing for Andy’s receivers. He really reminds me of DeSean Jackson, I think that’s def the best comparison.

ArrowSpread
ArrowSpread

RB from Jameson Maddison is a load. Looks like he could return kicks immediately.

We keep, what, four RBs?

Anthony Stratton

Yeah, and Sherman counts as one.

Berserker
Berserker

Damien, Darwin, and ?

I think it’s Hyde’s job to lose. I’d bet they want a chain mover. My only doubts about Hyde are whether he’s healthy enough, and if he can learn the playbook fast enough.

ArrowSpread
ArrowSpread

Yea.. Guess ya can’t have just one guy that actually knows how to stop a pass rusher. Makes me think Hyde is virtually a lock.

Berserker
Berserker

That, too. Although I’ve never paid enough attention to know whether Hyde is a good blocker or not.

ArrowSpread
ArrowSpread

Me neither. I guess I just assume he is, given all the years in the league and subbing in behind Gore.

QuackTastic
QuackTastic

Can’t wait till Hardman’s 4th year once he fully grasps Andy’s playbook. Gonna be a rockstar, then.

Anthony Stratton

Hes a more polished WR than Hill was out of college.

workingmansdead

Might only take him three and a half then

go_saleaumua
go_saleaumua

Hey, it only took Hill one….

/shrug

workingmansdead

That’s just an illusion. He still doesn’t truly and fully understand the playbook.

QuackTastic
QuackTastic

It’s a classic AP throwback joke. Needs to get the sarcasm font !

Anthony Stratton

Maybe I need MOAR coffee…

ArrowSpread
ArrowSpread

Sure, if you want your coffee to taste like Cyrus Gray shit

ArrowSpread
ArrowSpread

Just pretend that’s a strikethru

Anthony Stratton

I’m dead….

Tyrone
Tyrone

That may be the case, but Hill’s route running got very good pretty quickly.

Hardman’s route running looks very rough. Hopefully he can improve it quickly too.

I still don’t like the two being compared (not saying you were). Apart from both having quick 40 times, I don’t really see much similar in the two of them.

StramtoReid
StramtoReid

Hill is one of the best at tracking the ball, and a no 1 receiver, i’m just waiting to see Hardman’s strenghts and how he can help the offense..

Berserker
Berserker

^ This. He’s so great at tracking and attacking the ball in the air, I think that hides some other gaps in his game. I don’t know that his route running is really all that good.

ChiefArrowhead
ChiefArrowhead

Hill training in Omaha with a wr guru is what really helped him.

Anthony Stratton

They also only had him run like 3 different routes his rookie year.

They might be treating Hardman more like a WR they expect to run more than go routes.

QuackTastic
QuackTastic

Nice a downvote. Hope I didnt hurt your feelings too hard

Anthony Stratton

Up’d your downer

Chickennpickles
Chickennpickles

Up’d Your upper…

Anthony Stratton

Happy Water-logged Tuesday!

Maw423
Maw423

I know its super early, but I can’t help being super excited about the new additions on both sides of the ball. I can see Custis being an absolute nightmare in the redzone.

Anthony Stratton

The only thing keeping me grounded is the uncertainty surrounding the Hill situation

Maw423
Maw423

Agreed. Way to kill the vibe, Tony

Anthony Stratton

I still think it works out, but for now its the only thing keeping me from all out jubilation

Team Player
Team Player

I’m one and a half players away right now. The depth at certain positions is scary bad

Anthony Stratton

Ahhh….LB. Yes.

I wonder how well they can cover up the LB play with an improved DL and secondary.

kcfreak725
kcfreak725

If the Chiefs were to go out and pick up Jamie Collins…would that be an improvement? Many are predicting KC to be his landing spot

Team Player
Team Player

My 3 year old niece would be an improvement

Anthony Stratton

Pretty much this.

I couldn’t see how he wouldn’t help. He’d be a good fit at SAM imo.