NFL Hot Press
Some Teams Are High on Pat Mahomes
Updated Nov. 17, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell
Over the past decade, being a quarterback of a spread-option offense has hurt some prospects while not having an impact on others. A gimmick college offense didn't hold back Jared Goff from being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, while other running quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota, Robert Griffin III, and Johnny Manziel were all first-round picks. Other spread quarterbacks like Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Tajh Boyd have fallen to the second and third day of the draft despite video game like production in college. This year, there are a few quarterbacks prospects of that ilk, and one who has teams loving and hating him is Texas Tech junior signal caller Pat Mahomes II.
Sources from one AFC team 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, but not that much. They graded him in the third round and 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.
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 Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and a fifth-round grade on Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya. Another NFC team said they had Mahomes low and didn't like him as a prospect.
The college system is a big part of the debate on Mahomes. At Clemson, Watson's offense is similar and he gets hit with some of the same concerns about being a schematic project for the next level. However, Watson is mostly dinged because he is an inaccurate as a passer, while Mahomes accuracy is considered much better according to sources. Both quarterbacks have a lot of screens and other quick throws with running plays mixed in that inflate their numbers, but don't translate to the NFL. Mahomes also works out of the shotgun all of the time, so he is going to need to learn how to work under center. His footwork and field vision will have to be developed more from there, but he does flash the ability to work through progressions, use mobility to buy time, and burn defenses with his arm downfield. Hence, there are some teams that love him and other teams that really don't like him as a prospect.
Mahomes has completed 67 percent of his passes this season for 4,230 yards with 34 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also has 12 rushing touchdowns while leading the Red Raiders' point-machine offense. The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder has a thick build with a strong arm, so it wouldn't be surprising if he improves his grade during pre-draft workouts.
Mahomes could return for his senior year, but if he enters the draft, he looks like he could easily go on the second day of the draft. There are enough teams that like him, and quarterbacks rise because of the demand at the position. Some of these same teams didn't have a first-round grade on Goff, yet the Rams loved Goff enough to give up a fortune of draft picks and move up to the first-overall selection for him. Thus, at the quarterback position, anything can happen, and nobody should sleep on Mahomes as a prospect for the NFL just because he plays in a college system.