Updated Dec. 22, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky, and Clemson's Deshaun Watson have been the big named quarterbacks with speculation about their plans to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Kizer and Watson have declared, while Trubisky hasn't made his announcement, though most across the league expect Trubisky will enter the draft. They won't be the only early-entry signal callers. Sources have told WalterFootball.com that Texas Tech junior quarterback Pat Mahomes II plans on entering the draft.
Sources say that Mahomes is likely to do his pre-draft training in Tampa, Fla. His representatives also plan on having him work with veteran NFL quarterback coaches prior to the draft. At Texas Tech, Mahomes was part of a college spread passing attack, so he will have to learn many things for the NFL like working under center, calling plays in the huddle, improving footwork, and operating a pro offense. Working with a veteran NFL coach could help to speed up Mahomes' transition.
As a junior, Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes in 2016 for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns. His season was highlighted by throwing for 734 yards with five touchdowns passing, two touchdowns rushing, and one interception in a 66-59 loss to Oklahoma. Some team sources are intrigued by Mahomes, but others are skeptics. Even some of the evaluators who are skeptics acknowledge that the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has a strong arm capable of making all the throws in the NFL. Scouts say that Mahomes has to improve his decision-making and will need development for the NFL.
A general manger of a NFC team said they had a fourth-round grade on Mahomes, but felt he had some tools to work with. That same team has a 3rd/4th-round grade on Deshaun Watson, a fifth-round grade on Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, and a second-round grade on Mitch Trubisky. Another NFC team said they had Mahomes low, into Day 3, and didn't like him as a prospect.
Sources from one AFC team, however, said they had a second-round grade on Mahomes and viewed him similarly to Derek Carr coming out of Fresno State. They were very high on Mahomes and think he could become a hot prospect in the lead up to his draft class. The scouting director of another AFC team said they liked Mahomes. They graded him in the third round, but don't think he is as good of a prospect as Carr. Another AFC team said they also had a second-day grade on Mahomes.
There is a big variety in the perception of Mahomes around the league, and we have seen some quarterbacks rise extremely high or fall much lower than expected. Thus, entering the draft process, Mahomes could have a high ceiling and a low floor.