The Kansas City Chiefs weren't able to land a No. 2 wide receiver in free agency, striking out on JuJu Smith-Schuster and Josh Reynolds. Sammy Watkins departed for the Baltimore Ravens, leaving the Chiefs to fill the void in house.
No player has taken the reins for that No. 2 wide receiver job through the first week of training camp, which is just fine for head coach Andy Reid.
"Yeah, so right now it's a combination of guys," Reid said to reporters at the conclusion of Chiefs practice Thursday. "They're working and we're doing OK there, and that's normally how it kind of works. When Sammy was injured, that's how it worked from there."
Mecole Hardman is the favorite to win the job, but the Chiefs also have a veteran in Demarcus Robinson -- who has been a reliable target for Patrick Mahomes in the past. Robinson finished with a career-high 45 catches for 466 yards and three touchdowns last year (10.4 yards per catch). Mahomes had a 108.4 passer rating targeting Robinson last season.
Reid won't name any player to any role -- yet.
"Demarcus is fine. We know what he can do, he knows all the spots," Reid said. "He's competing like crazy for that particular position, but he also knows we rotate and move guys all around. So, he understands how we operate, and I think they all do. All the guys that have a chance to be in there understand that."
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Hardman is entering his third year in the NFL. He finished with 41 catches for 560 yards and six touchdowns last year, but his yards-per-catch average dipped from 20.7 in 2019 to 13.7 in 2020. The Chiefs do like how Hardman has performed in camp, but won't hand him the job because of his draft status.
"Mecole has done a great job of coming back to camp in shape, like he always does, but you're still seeing that explosive power," Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said earlier in the week. "He's working on his releases — he's just fine-tuning the little things. We're excited about him. Mecole is doing a heck of a job. He's working hard and he's working on the details to help him to improve each and every day."
The Chiefs will let this battle linger throughout camp. Regardless, they have options.