Skip to main content

Which Chiefs WR Is the Best Replacement for Tyreek Hill?

The Chiefs have several receivers who can replicate Hill's impact, but who's the best fit to do so?

The Kansas City Chiefs certainly addressed the receiver position in general after trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins this offseason. The signings of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster and the drafting of Skyy Moore helped rectify the situation for the most part, but an important question remains largely unaddressed as the offseason continues.

Who will replace Hill’s production?

Jan 30, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) makes a catch for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter of the AFC Championship Game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Kelce being one of the best tight ends in football will certainly help with the loss of production from Hill’s departure, but he can’t be used in the same way. With a player as talented and impactful as Hill leaving, there isn’t a definitive way to replace his production. With that said, there are players at the wide receiver position who can certainly emulate his success. 

While Smith-Schuster and Moore are talented players in their own regards, they don’t necessarily fit the profile to make an impact in the same way Hill did. Both Smith-Schuster and Moore are reliable slot options with strong hands who operate well over the middle of the field, but they just lack the speed needed to fill that Hill-esque role.

On the other hand, Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman possess the field-stretching ability to give the Chiefs a taste of what Hill brought to the table.

Like Hill, Valdes-Scantling is a dangerous threat down the field. He posted a 4.27-second 40-yard dash time at the 2018 NFL Combine and has consistently displayed his deep threat ability throughout his career.

May 26, 2022; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (11) takes a break during organized team activities at The University of Kansas Health System Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In only 11 games last season, he posted a league-best average target distance at 17.5 yards, as well as 22 deep targets (good for the 19th-best in the league). Valdes-Scantling’s speed and deep route success are high points in his game, but where he may lack in terms of filling Hill’s shoes is the versatility department.

He only racked up 79 slot snaps compared to Hill’s 313 in the 2021 season. Also, Valdes-Scantling has only carried the ball eight times for 51 yards in his career with no carries or yards coming in 2021, while Hill carried the ball nine times for 96 yards in the 2021 season alone.

Valdes-Scantling’s lack of alignment and involvement versatility are not ideal weaknesses when looking to replace someone as versatile as Hill. To fill that role (as best as possible), the Chiefs need a player who can line up nearly anywhere, has the ability to stretch the defense and can get touches to create yards in various ways.

That player is Hardman.

Oct 24, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Hardman was infamously selected before receivers like D.K. Metcalf and Terry McLaurin in the 2019 NFL Draft to be a player like Hill. The size, speed and ball-carrying ability are eerily similar, but the Chiefs never fully saw what Hardman was made of because of Hill taking a majority of the snaps, targets and production in that role.

With Hill now in Miami, Hardman has the chance to explode onto the scene in the role he was drafted at — which is such a coveted spot to play. There are no questions about Hardman’s versatility. He recorded 265 slot snaps in 2021 and carried the ball eight times for 46 yards. Like Hill, Hardman also excels after the catch. 

Last season, 487 of Hardman's career-high 693 receiving yards came after the catch. That's good for 5.9 yards per target. Pair that with his 11.7 yards per reception average and 8.3 yards per target average, and the picture becomes crystal clear compared to the rest of the Chiefs' receiving corps. Even though Hardman is utilized in different roles more than Valdes-Scantling, he still racked up 13 deep targets in 2021. This shows that he can still get it done down the field, too.

Hardman is the receiver whose skillset most resembles Hill’s. He’s a speedster who’s more than just that; he has the ability to impact the game from the backfield and in the secondary. While Hardman isn’t a Hill clone, he has the reps, skills and opportunity to give the Chiefs what they’ll miss from their former superstar wideout.

Scroll to Continue

Read More