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Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

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  • Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

    Bruce Feldman‏ @BruceFeldmanCFB
    I'm told #TexasTech QB Patrick Mahomes will prep for the NFL Draft in Carlsbad, CA w/ former NFL OC and QB coach Mike Sheppard at EXOS.

    Will be curious to see how NFL views Pat Mahomes. Smart kid. Cannon arm, good feet & amazing w/ off-platform throws, but still pretty raw.

    #TexasTech QB Patrick Mahomes announces that he will leave for the NFL & not return for his SR season.

    Leigh Steinberg is his agent.

    Interesting project prospect who might go earlier than some expect and might interest the Texans.
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  • #2
    I'd draft him, he will go anywhere from Rd 2-4. led the nation in passing behind a bad oline. he's and academic all American which really sticks with me. he might be raw but worth taking a shot on if you aren't in position for a top tier qb in this draft


    • #3
      25. Houston Texans: Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
      The Texans selecting a quarterback in the first round would've seemed unfathomable three months ago, but Brock Osweiler has been so horrible that he was benched in favor of Tom Savage, who isn't a good quarterback either. Unless Osweiler somehow impresses in the playoffs, I can't imagine the Texans going into next year with Osweiler and Savage as their only quarterbacks. They'd need to find someone else, and that someone else could be Pat Mahomes.

      Charlie Campbell reported that some teams have Mahomes slotted as a second-round prospect, but given that Mahomes is a quarterback, he's likely to be chosen earlier than most anticipate. The NFL Draft Advisory Committee apparently agrees, as they gave Mahomes a Round 1-2 grade. Thus, it only seems logical to slot Mahomes into this spot, because if the Texans like him, they won't be able to obtain him with their second-round selection.


      Pat Mahomes Scouting Report
      By Charlie Campbell

      Pat Mahomes II,

      Quarterback Texas Tech
      • Legit arm strength
      • Has a serious fastball
      • Accurate passer
      • Makes some beautiful touch throws
      • Tough; takes big hits
      • Can make all the throws required
      • Throws a catchable ball
      • Works through progressions
      • Tremendous at making big plays off script
      • Excellent improvisation skills
      • Makes good throws when he can't set his feet
      • Has nice feel
      • Awareness
      • Decision-making
      • Reads safeties well
      • Finds the open receiver
      • Throws a good deep ball
      • Mobility
      • Athletic
      • Moves well in the pocket
      • Can pick up yards on the ground
      • Quick feet
      • Potential for good footwork
      • Pro-athlete pedigree
      • Gunslinger who can be reckless with the football
      • Throws too many passes back across the field
      • Can sail deep balls too far
      • Will need to learn working under center
      • Will have to work on footwork with making drops from under center
      • Will need to learn working a NFL huddle
      • Will need to improve footwork
      • Needs development for a pro-style offense
      • College offense ran lot of plays he won't run in the NFL
      Injury history:
      • 12/2017 underwent offseason surgery on his left wrist scaphoid bone.
      • Played eight games with an AC joint sprain in the shoulder of his throwing (right) arm, which is still healing.
      Summary: In Big XII country, offenses are known for being point-machines with video game-like numbers being produced by their quarterbacks. Among those teams, Texas Tech is one of the best at generating big point totals through its passing attack and playing in high-scoring shutouts on a weekly basis. Mahomes spent the past few seasons as the leader of the Red Raiders' high-powered offense. While some thought to dismiss him as just a college system quarterback, Mahomes showed NFL evaluators that he has a serious skill set with the physical tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

      Mahomes broke onto the field as a freshman and completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,547 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He made a big jump as a sophomore when he was the full-time starter, completing 64 percent for 4,653 yards with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

      2016 was the junior's best season. Not only did he produce unreal totals, but he showed an improvement in his field vision, accuracy, ability to throw from the pocket, and ability to run his offense. 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.

      As a passer, Mahomes can make all the throws that the NFL requires. He has a powerful arm to throw some bullets to the far sideline from across the field. Throwing the deep out is no problem for Mahomes. He can loft the ball deep down the field with a flick of the wrist and rifle fastballs that beat coverage. To further illustrate his arm strength, he sits at a 93 MPH fastball as a baseball pitcher. Mahomes is an accurate passer in the short to intermediate part of the field. He can make some well placed passes into tight windows to beat quality coverage from the defense. The junior also has the ability to throw soft touch passes, lofting the ball over defenders and leading his receivers to hit them on the run. Mahomes has excellent feel and awareness with where to go with the ball as a passer. He also adjusts his arm angle or his feet to complete passes.

      Mahomes also can throw the deep ball, but there are frequent times where his deep ball tends to sail on him too far. Sometimes, he can make perfectly placed deep passes, but he isn't consistent going deep. If Mahomes has good receiving talent in the NFL, that could help that issue, but Mahomes has room for improvement on his deep accuracy. In college, he demonstrated good decision-making, but there were lots of throws back across the field that he won't be able to do in the NFL. Thus, Mahomes' decision-making will need some adjustments for pro defenses.

      Along with accuracy, a key for NFL quarterbacks is working through progressions and reading the field. Mahomes has developed some field vision to work off his primary read and work through progressions. He finds open receivers after his primary read and knows where his check-down receivers are. He shows some development as he is very good at manipulating coverage with his vision toward safeties and moving defenders with pump fakes.

      While Mahomes has the arm to make any throw in the NFL, he also has mobility and athleticism. He moves well in the pocket and has very quick feet to get pointed to where he wants to deliver the football. His sudden feet help him to reset while throwing after he scrambles. Mahomes has the ability to hurt defenses on the ground on designed runs or taking off if nothing is open downfield. He also has a thick build and the toughness to take hits. Mahomes uses his feet and athleticism to set up big plays for his arm as well. Sometimes, however, he can hold the ball too long and wait to scramble around when he needs to get rid of the ball from the pocket.

      When plays break down, Mahomes is tremendous at improvising to make a big play for his offense. Similar to Russell Wilson or Brett Favre, Mahomes is great at backyard football by using his feet to run around and then lean on his powerful arm to rifle the ball downfield when receivers break off their routes and run to an open space. All of that combines to make Mahomes a real challenge for defenses.

      There are growth issues that Mahomes will need to develop. He is going to need to learn how to work under center, call plays in a huddle, and develop his footwork to make drops from being under center. His college offense featured a lot of quick throws, screens, and designed runs that don't translate to the NFL. Mahomes' father was a pitcher in Major League Baseball, so Mahomes should have an understanding about the work ethic needed, being a good teammate, and the time commitment to excel as a pro athlete.

      In this draft analyst's opinion, I would grade Mahomes as a second-round pick. That is the same grade the NFL draft advisory board gave him. 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 third- to fourth-round grade on Deshaun Watson, a fifth-round grade on Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, and a second-round grade on Mitch Trubisky. That team is a tough grader, overall. Another NFC team said they had Mahomes low - into Day 3 - and weren't hot on him as a prospect, but they also have a young franchise quarterback.

      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 leadup 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 are plenty of teams in the NFL that are starved for quarterback talent, so Mahomes could rise in the leadup to the 2017 NFL Draft just because of need and desperation. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that Mahomes goes in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Round 2 could be his most likely destination, and he shouldn't fall out of the third round if he makes it there.

      Player Comparison: Derek Carr. I have heard some scouts compare Mahomes to Carr, and there are a lot of similarities between the two. They both have powerful arms, mobility, accuracy and toughness. Carr also came from a college spread offense at Fresno State similar to the one that Mahomes ran at Texas Tech. Like Carr, Mahomes also grew up with pro athletes in the family. I could see Mahomes being an NFL quarterback comparable to Carr. So much of whether Mahomes pans out, however, will be determined by the team and coaching staff that drafts him. He also will have to work hard to learn his NFL offense coming from a college gimmick offense that won't correlate well to the pros. Carr was able to overcome that issue, and the question is if Mahomes has that ability. Others have compared Mahomes to Johnny Manziel, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.

      NFL Matches: Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago, Jacksonville, New Orleans, San Diego, Arizona, Houston, Kansas City and Pittsburgh

      There are a lot of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL, and that will help Mahomes' chances of moving up draft boards. Obviously, the Browns are in dire need of a solution to their quarterback quandary. Cleveland also is loaded with draft picks, including two in the first round, two in the second and one in the third. Mahomes could be a candidate for the Browns on Day 2.

      The 49ers are also desperate for a starting quarterback, and Mahomes could be a target for them atop the second round if they don't go with a quarterback in Round 1. Chicago could move on from Jay Cutler after this season, and Mahomes could be worthy of consideration for the Bears in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

      Blake Bortles is looking like he could be a bust for the Jaguars. In the mid-rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, Jacksonville could consider taking a quarterback to push Bortles and give the organization another option in case Bortles continues to struggle. Mahomes would have to slide to be in play for the Jaguars.

      Houston will be in the market for another quarterback this offseason given the struggles of Brock Osweiler. The Texans could target Mahomes with one of their early picks.

      The Saints, Chargers, Cardinals, Chiefs and Steelers all fall into the category of teams that have aging starting quarterbacks. Each one could consider drafting Mahomes on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft and developing him with hopes that he could be their heir apparent.[/LIST]

      28 starts
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      • #4
        His HC/OC is a Mike Leach protege. Mahomes is a Mike Leach QB with mobility. When was the last time a Mike Leach QB did anything at all in the NFL?


        • #5
          Originally posted by chjoak View Post
          His HC/OC is a Mike Leach protege. Mahomes is a Mike Leach QB with mobility. When was the last time a Mike Leach QB did anything at all in the NFL?
          I was just thinking the same thing. And what makes him better than Manziel or Case Keenum?

          Granted, Carr came from similar system and was good. Might as well take a chance.


          • #6
            Texas Tech QB Pat Mahomes Likes Texans Possibility

            Texas Tech Quarterback Pat Mahomes joined In the Loop on Radio Row Friday. He’s taken a look at the Texans organization and likes the possibility of landing in Houston after the coming draft. There are no guarantees for where he may end up, but he does think the Texans could be a good fit for him.

            “I mean it’s definitely appealing. I mean, it’s definitely something where you know that you’re going to have to go in and just protect the ball and if you score a couple touchdowns, you’re going to win football games. The Texans have a great team. Also, I’m from Texas. I’m from Tyler, Texas, so it helps out a lot,” Mahomes said.

            Pat is an attractive prospect for many teams early in the draft outlook because of his arm strength. He doesn’t think that is the only factor that makes him an NFL caliber quarterback.

            “I think the thing that’s going to wow people is the accuracy. I feel like I’m really accurate, especially when my feet are under me and I can throw on the run really accurate. I feel like that’s what’s really going to wow people. The arm strength I think everybody knows about, but for me it’s about the accuracy and putting those balls exactly where I want them,” Mahomes said.

            He also credited the Texas Tech offense and Coach Kliff Kingsbury for helping him learn things that could translate to the NFL.

            “I think that’s going to be a big plus for me. I’m really going to go out there and show them how our offense translates to the NFL. That’s just the biggest thing for me I feel like NFL teams want to see and I’m going to really drill that… With Kingsbury playing in the NFL, he’s really taking the spread system and used a lot of NFL knowledge to it. We actually break down a lot of NFL plays in our game plans and transfer them to our offense so I feel like that will help me out a lot,” Pat said.
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            • #7
              Lance Zierlein posted his scouting report on Mahomes...

              QB PATRICK MAHOMES
              TEXAS TECH/BIG 12

              GRADE: 5.9
              • 6'3" HEIGHT
              • 215 LBS. WEIGHT

              If you're a quarterback in Texas running the spread attack that is prevalent throughout the state, playing for Texas Tech is a natural fit. The son of the former major league pitcher of the same name has a big-league arm, and used it quite a bit in high school (4,619 yards, 50 TDs as a senior) and more than anyone else in college football the past two seasons. Mahomes began his career by starting the Red Raiders' final four games his true freshman year (1,547 yards, 16 TDs, four INTs, 56.8 completion percentage), one of those games being a 598-yard, six-touchdown effort against a top-10 team in Baylor. He earned honorable mention All-Big 12 notice for the second straight year in 2015, starting every game and leading the FBS with 393 yards of total offense per game (4,653 yards, 36 TDs, 15 INTs, 63.5 completion pct). Mahomes was a second-team all-conference pick in his final year with Tech in 2016, leading the FBS with 421 passing yards per game (5,052 total, 41 TDs, 10 INTs, 65.7 completion pct). He's also been a threat with his big-bodied frame and strong legs the past three years, scoring 22 times on the ground.


              Possesses NFL body type for work inside and out of the pocket. Has an undeniable swagger and confidence to his game. Accuracy has improved in each season since his freshman year. Naturally accurate in his every day throws. Comfortable challenging defenders in space. Has arm strength and fearlessness to attack the cover-2 voids down the sideline. Can make deep, field side throws. Cranks up velocity to fit passes into tight windows. Former pitcher who propels hips through his release with aggressive torque and never gets cheated on his follow-through. Can deliver strikes from a variety of arm angles. Expedites release on RPOs (run-pass option) or when pressure is mounting in pocket. Puts effort into play-action fakes. Relaxed and effective when throwing on the move. Can be a legitimate dual-threat in a boot-action offense. Improved his eye manipulation over the years and will eyeball linebackers to hold them while patterns unfold around them. Has pocket mobility to escape pressure and the poise to extend plays and find alternate targets. Hands are very strong. Can pump and reset without issues. Competes as a runner and is willing to go the extra mile for the first down.

              Can be inconsistent in his approach. Needs to play inside the offense and show more discipline. Too eager to go big game hunting. Ravenous appetite for the explosive play can also bring unwanted trouble. Willingness to default to playground style appears to limit his ability to get into a consistent rhythm. Needs to improve anticipatory reads and learn to take what the defense gives him. Decision making can go from good to bad in a moment's notice. Operates from a narrow base and allows his upper body and arm to race ahead of his feet. Has a dip and wind-up in his standard release. Explosive delivery and follow-through causes some throws to sail. Needs better touch on intermediate and deep balls. Carries ball a little low in the pocket. Impatient. Will leave pocket prematurely rather than standing in and winning in rhythm. Better as a scrambler than pure runner. Looked a little less mobile in the open field this season.
              SOURCES TELL US

              "He's got a great arm, big balls and he's mobile. He is going to drive his head coach crazy for the first couple of years and there is no getting around that. If it clicks for him and he's coachable, I think he could become a special quarterback." - NFC executive
              NFL COMPARISON

              Jay Cutler
              BOTTOM LINE

              Mahomes is a big, confident quarterback who brings a variety of physical tools to the party, but he's developed some bad habits and doesn't have a very repeatable process as a passer. Mahomes' ability to improvise and extend plays can lead to big plays for his offense, but he will have to prove he can operate with better anticipation and be willing to take what the defense gives him in order to win from the pocket. Mahomes will be a work in progress, but he's a high ceiling, low floor prospect.
              --Lance Zierlein

              I think Mahomes will come in over 6' 2" and closer to 230 than 215.
              Last edited by H2O4me; 02-08-2017, 05:00 PM.
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              • #8
                With that write-up I was expecting a Brett Favre comparison not a dang Jay Cutler comparison.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Optimistic View Post
                  With that write-up I was expecting a Brett Favre comparison not a dang Jay Cutler comparison.
                  He's not talking head, just traits.

                  I don't see it. Mahomes might be approaching Cutler, but Jay was one of the most physically gifted throwers of the football I've seen. He's an awful headcase, but man his tools were special.

                  Turn off the music(NSFW) and watch some Cutler throws... set it at half speed:

                  Mahomes is an easy thrower, which is rare. His footwork is lazy and/or poor.

                  But he ignores/misses so many basic open shots and runs himself into more difficult ones that make you scratch your head.

                  I'm very interested to see him throwing on time from under center in 5 and 7 step drops.

                  I think he might be more accurate on the move, off platform. Like Bortles(not my favorite example) has been more effective on the move.

                  We need a QB who can play from the pocket, because that running around ruins the timing of a play and gets you killed in NFL.

                  Look at Brock: his slower-to-set feet and elongated release add less than a second to a play, but that extra time ruins it. NFL windows open and close very quickly.

                  I'm really excited to see who O'Brien likes, if anybody, in this class -- if the FO let's him choose.
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                  • #10
                    I'm going to mention it again...there isn't a QB in this class that I would draft ahead of an OL, RB, or TE for 2017. Also, Obie's going to have a big enough challenge on his hands this off-season trying to salvage the Osweiler Project for 37M reasons...not to mention if he's going to watch his own 3 year project leave this team after never really getting to put him through his paces for a full season. This overall blunder has an easy chance to far exceed the damage done by drafting a bust QB in RD1. .


                    • #11
                      QB prospect worthy of the hype?

                      Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes has generated plenty of buzz in league circles, but he remains one of the most challenging evaluations in the 2017 draft class. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound gunslinger is unquestionably one of the most talented passers in the draft after passing for more than 11,000 yards and 93 touchdowns with only 29 interceptions in three seasons. Although the Red Raiders' Air Raid system certainly makes statistical stars out of every field general that steps behind the center, Mahomes' impressive combination of arm talent and athleticism gives him a legitimate shot of becoming a franchise quarterback at the next level.

                      "He definitely has the tools to be a No. 1," said an NFC scout. "He's big and athletic with big-time arm talent. I know his numbers are inflated but he can make all of the throws. I think the kid can play. ... I like him a lot!"

                      Despite the effusive praise being lavished on Mahomes, I believe evaluators face quite a dilemma when assessing his talent and potential. While there's no disputing his physical skills, there are certainly valid concerns regarding his ability to master a pro scheme after thriving in a system that allowed him to throw 40-plus times each week. Sure, the reps help the quarterback master the art of throwing the ball, but the simple reads and pick-and-stick throws associated with the scheme don't necessarily translate to the pro game. Thus, a team willing to take on Mahomes should consider him a developmental prospect and map out a long-term plan to help him grow into the position.

                      Considering those factors alone, I was a little surprised to hear my colleague Ian Rapoport tell the Setting The Edge podcast that several people have pegged Mahomes as their "favorite quarterback" in the draft. Now, I definitely understand how evaluators fall in love with prospects based on their natural talents and athleticism, but quarterbacks are evaluated differently due to the rigorous demands of the position, particularly from a mental standpoint. In the NFL, the quarterback is the de facto CEO of the team and he must possess the leadership skills, aptitude, and diagnostic skills to direct an offense between the lines.

                      Considering how the quarterback is viewed as the joystick for the offensive coordinator in the video-game-like Air Raid system, there are valid concerns regarding Mahomes' ability to assimilate into a pro-style scheme. Remember, there haven't been many NFL success stories in the Air Raid tree (Washington State, Texas Tech and Cal) despite the gaudy resumes of the field generals that have starred in the system. Sure, Jared Goff was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, but the football world is still waiting to see if he eventually cuts the mustard as a franchise quarterback. That's why there is some hesitation in anointing Mahomes as one of the top prospects due to the repeated failures of his predecessors from the system.

                      After studying the tape of Mahomes' game, I believe his shoddy footwork and mechanics might trump the concerns about his ability to master concepts of an NFL scheme. Mahomes rarely takes a traditional drop in the pocket and his penchant for throwing balls while fading away or from a flat-foot platform leads to wayward throws down the field. In a league where accuracy is coveted at a premium, Mahomes' inconsistent mechanics could lead to a number of turnovers on tips and overthrows.

                      While watching a "sandlot" playmaker deliver a few splash plays on tape is tantalizing, it's hard for a play caller to work with an improvisational specialist at the position when attempting to build winning game plans. Offensive coordinators prefer to take a systematic approach akin to a chess match when picking apart defenses from the press box (or sidelines) and it's challenging to stick to the script when the QB1 is at his best throwing alley oops at the end of scrambles. Now, that statement isn't meant to discredit Mahomes' talent as a big, athletic gunslinger, but his style of play doesn't necessarily fit structured systems that expect the quarterback to hit his designated receivers on time after going through his progressions.

                      With that in mind, I'm still having a tough time envisioning Mahomes as a top-tier quarterback prospect despite his natural talents and potential.

                      -- Bucky Brooks
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                      • #12
                        I like Mahomes a lot but I get a feeling that there really isn't a QB in this draft that OB would want. He would gladly send a 5th or 6th to the Jets for Hack than draft a QB in this class.

                        Obviously, I have no relation to the staff and I could be 100% wrong come draft day, but this is just a hunch.


                        • #13
                          PFF Mock Draft 4.0

                          The pads are off, and it’s time for the workout portion of draft season as the league’s next stars are gearing up for the NFL Combine and pro days. It’s there that evaluators hope prospects match what they put on tape, and it’s the stark differences that may cause a second look to determine whether something was missed during the on-field evaluation. Pro Football Focus’ analysis team is working feverishly to sift through three years of production grades, adding proper context to each player and figuring out where they stand as we shape the PFF Draft Board.

                          As for the first round, the quarterbacks will be the story of the night. There are various opinions on the top options, as they all come with their own set of question marks. Beyond quarterback, cornerbacks may steal the show on the first two days of the draft, while the safety and tight end classes are shaping up to be as deep as we’ve seen in years. Here’s a look at PFF’s fourth mock draft for the 2017 class.

                          As always, this mock draft reflects what I would do as GM of each team—it is not a prediction of what each NFL team will do.

                          25. Houston Texans
                          Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

                          The more our analysts watch Mahomes, the more they like what the Texas Tech product may be able to do at the next level. So much of his game is off-the-cuff, but it’s that feel for the passing game and finding open receivers that makes Mahomes intriguing for the next level. He has a strong arm capable of driving the ball down the field or making throws on the run, though he certainly has to do a better job of taking care of the football. Mahomes ranked second in the nation in both big-time throws and turnover-worthy throws, highlighting that boom-or-bust potential, but with so many questions about the future of the quarterback position in Houston, he’s worth the risk at the back end of the first round.

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                          • #14
                            The Draft’s Rorschach Test: What Will Each Team See in Patrick Mahomes?

                            An athletic, cannon-armed playmaker, son of a professional athlete and leader of men? Or a sloppy, reckless developmental prospect from a gimmicky offense? In a QB class full of question marks, Mahomes has emerged as the most fascinating passer in the draft. And every evaluator will see something different

                            CARLSBAD, Calif. — First it was the video from spring ball: Patrick Mahomes coolly executing a no-look pass. “Doing his best Aaron Rodgers impersonation,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury posted on Twitter. A few weeks later, another video surfaced: Mahomes, both knees on the turf, launching a perfect spiral 65 yards. It felt as if everyone around Mahomes was trying to sell the skeptics on his talent.

                            The QB class of 2017 includes some typical prospects: the Golden Dome legacy (DeShone Kizer), the late-bloomer with the big arm (Mitch Trubisky) and the college superstar whose game has been dissected under a microscope (Deshaun Watson). Most years, teams would overlook the up-and-down gunslinger carrying the Air Raid stigma, brand him as a developmental prospect and relegate him to Day 3. But none of the usual suspects have solidified themselves as a Round 1 pick. And now, with the draft two months away, it seems NFL front offices are opening their mind to Mahomes.

                            The 21-year-old has the rugged frame (6' 3", 230 pounds), the MLB-caliber arm (literally) and enough charisma to convince teams he can buck a growing list of Air Raid flops. In the past six months, he has risen to become a legitimate first-round option. “I think people will have to wonder if they’re talking themselves into loving him because it’s a generally weak class,” says an AFC personnel man. “But as you watch his tape, you see this kid has traits that are just special. His footwork needs work and there are mechanical issues to sort out, but his potential is exciting.”

                            Mahomes has the face of a teenager but carries himself like a much older man. He maintains eye contact and talks fast; his Texas drawl is accentuated by unrelenting energy. And as he details his journey, you’re inclined to believe every promise he makes. For his entire life, Mahomes has been precociously assertive.

                            “It’s understandable why people would think I’m just another Air Raid guy, not ready for [the pros],” he says. “Quarterbacks who came from our system haven’t done well in the NFL; that’s a fact.

                            “At the combine, I am going to show NFL teams that I am ready to play Day 1. Everyone knows I can make the throws, but I’m smarter than people think. I know these NFL concepts. I’m not a project.”

                            * * *

                            Before the gridiron, there was the diamond. Mahomes was born in September 1995 when his father, Pat Mahomes Sr., was in the final weeks of his fourth season with the Minnesota Twins.

                            The elder Mahomes, a 6' 4" right-hander, would pitch seven more seasons for five different teams in the majors, and bounced around the minor leagues for another five seasons after that. Little Pat followed. When he was 2 ½, the family moved to Puerto Rico for winter ball, bunking with his godfather, LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins spent 21 seasons in the majors, first as a top prospect in the starting rotation, then as a shutdown reliever. And for one winter, he served as Little Pat’s personal waiter.

                            Little Pat would wake up at 2 a.m. crying for Hawkins, with a specific request. Troy! Troy! French fries! I want them now!

                            “He knew there was a Burger King across the street,” Hawkins says. “And he knew it was open 24 hours.” Hawkins usually obliged. Pat ate the fries, then fell back asleep immediately. Their bond remained strong, Hawkins serving as a mentor as Little Pat became a star in his own right.

                            Mahomes spent the school year in East Texas and summers on the road. He took batting practice with Alex Rodriguez, fielded ground balls with Derek Jeter. “Now that I’m older I realize that stuff wasn’t normal,” he says. When he was 9, Mahomes not only made the 11-and 12-year-old travel team, he was the starting shortstop.

                            When Mahomes Sr. retired from baseball and began coaching youth basketball, his son was the star. But in seventh grade, Mahomes began playing football, invigorating a passion.

                            He was a high school quarterback, but when he attended his first camp, at the University of Texas, the coaches said he could be a great safety. And so goes the story, now retold lovingly by Pat Sr., of a conversation between father and son during the car ride back from Austin: The elder Mahomes asked his son why he was messing around playing football when his true talent was on the diamond. The younger Mahomes’ fastball was clocked at 95 miles per hour. All 30 MLB teams had sent scouts to see him. In one meeting, an MLB scout told the 17-year-old his base projected earnings in baseball, his worst-case scenario, would be $1.6 million for his career.

                            “My dad played football in high school, he was all-state, but he never really loved it,” Mahomes says. “But for me, football was my love.”

                            Hawkins wanted Mahomes to make the best decision. He consulted Mike Larson, a veteran MLB scout. “With a kid like that,” Larson said, “baseball is not as big of a deal, it comes naturally. But if he wants to be a professional in football, he will have to sacrifice the next step and focus completely on football. He’s going to need to be entirely invested.”

                            “Once we told him that,” Hawkins recalled. “He was entirely invested in football.”

                            The Tigers drafted Mahomes in the 37th round of the 2014 draft. Their scouting director called with a message: “We know you’re probably not coming. We just figured we’d give it a shot.”

                            Mahomes said thank you, and that the assumption was correct: He was dead set on moving to Lubbock, where he would play quarterback for Texas Tech.

                            * * *

                            Mahomes’ collegiate statistics were gaudy. Last year, as a junior, he threw for 5,052 yards, completing 65.7 percent of his passes, with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over 12 games. He averaged 49 pass attempts per game. That includes the backyard football bonanza against Oklahoma in October, when Mahomes set a single-game FBS record with 819 yards of offense, accumulated over 100 plays (88 passes, 12 runs), along with seven touchdowns (five passing, two running). Oklahoma won, 66-59. Even Mahomes didn’t realize the absurdity until midway through the fourth quarter when his freshman-year roommate, wideout Hunter Rittimann, accurately reported: “Dude, you have like 700 passing yards.” Mahomes claims his arm wasn’t sore the next day—“I think pitching conditioned my arm”—though he threw for a season-low 206 yards the following week, in a double-overtime win at TCU.

                            Here’s the first thing that gives evaluators pause. The Red Raiders run a variation of the Air Raid offense, popularized by former coach Mike Leach (Kliff Kingsbury, Tech’s current coach, played quarterback under Leach). It’s a quarterback-friendly system, pass-happy and full of quick-strike plays, leading to huge (and what many would call inflated) statistical outputs. According to most NFL evaluators, the system doesn’t translate to the pros because it’s so heavy on predetermined reads.

                            This is met with defensiveness from some. As Leach told me in October: “I think the knock on the Air Raid is just a cop out. If a guy who played in that system falls short, people use this as an excuse to their own convenience, saying what we’re doing is a trick or something different or whatever.” Adds the AFC personnel man: “We’ve scouted enough guys from those systems to know what you’re looking for is traits and a capacity to learn. It’s hard to generalize why it sometimes doesn’t work out. It’s an inexact science. But there is a steep curve of what they’re asked to do for us versus what their responsibilities were in college.”

                            Indeed, NFL evaluators concede that the volume of passes isn’t the problem, but rather other stylistic differences that don’t translate to the NFL, specifically commanding a huddle and taking snaps from under center. And while Mahomes will need to learn to work the huddle—he previously used signals to relay plays—he is quick to make this point: “Kingsbury made us take snaps under center every single day at practice, just so we were comfortable there. We didn’t want to have any miscues anytime we did it. We ran some NFL stuff. I didn’t do any three- or five- or seven-step drops from under center, but we did some play-actions, we did some handoffs, some bootlegs.”

                            An NFL scout who studied Mahomes’ tape said that while he was under center some, it was sparingly and usually in short-yardage situations. Mike Sheppard, the longtime NFL assistant who is tutoring Mahomes, is working on his five- and seven-step drops and rhythm throws, separating the drop from the throw. Mahomes says he had a little bit of an extra step in his left foot because of being used to the shotgun, a habit he fixed in about two weeks.

                            Another thing Mahomes will stress in Indianapolis: He had more responsibilities in Lubbock than you think. Kingsbury allowed Mahomes to begin checking plays at line of scrimmage during the quarterback’s sophomore year, and by last year Mahomes could check any play he wanted. In fact, Kingsbury’s sideline signals were an exception—he used them only when he wanted Mahomes to keep his play no matter what. A scout said that is unusual for a college spread quarterback. It was a virtue of Mahomes starting 28 games.

                            Because Mahomes played three sports in high school, he rarely attended specialized football camps. One of his first camp experiences was last summer as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. Mahomes took note of a conversation with Peyton. “He watches himself over and over again,” Mahomes says. “Peyton watched the TV version of himself. He watched as much film on himself as he does on others.” And so Mahomes went home and entered a YouTube wormhole searching “Pat Mahomes clips.”

                            Mahomes says his new habit helped him cut interceptions down from 15 in 2015 to 10 last season (despite a slight uptick in pass attempts). Perhaps next year he’ll even begin TiVo-ing his games, he says. NFL teams hope Mahomes continues on that curve.

                            There are two common refrains from NFL evaluators: (1) Mahomes could have the strongest arm in the NFL draft, and (2) He needs to clean up footwork and improve his decision-making.

                            “He’s athletic, and has plenty of velocity. It’s special when you come across someone with an arm like that,” Sheppard says. “But he has the arm strength where it doesn’t always have to be perfect in terms of fundamentals. He can still get the ball out there.”

                            Watching Mahomes invokes memories of Kingsbury’s most famous pupil: Johnny Manziel, who played under Kingsbury when the coach was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M. Mahomes is a bigger, sturdier, harder-to-tackle version of Manziel, and his arm is far stronger. And in nearly every game, Mahomes is improvising and resetting on the move, juking defenders and hurling the ball deep.

                            In a conversation with The MMQB’s Peter King, Mike Mayock said of Mahomes: “He’s looking for a home run on every throw. Gunslingers cut both ways. He throws off a back foot with a funky platform, and hits a wide receiver 40 yards downfield in a tiny window. Next series, he throws into traffic with a seven-point lead late in the game when all you need is a field goal. Can you legislate out some of the bad stuff? Footwork is all over the place. Awareness of situational football simply must improve. He has to learn when it’s okay to take a shot. My first thought is back to Jay Cutler. Cutler had to make all kinds of crazy throws to keep a bad team, Vandy, competitive in a tough league. But there was no denying his talent. Same with Mahomes.”

                            When Mahomes weighed his decision to declare, he again consulted his godfather. Hawkins, who spent two decades in major league clubhouses, devised a litmus test. He used Alshon Jeffrey as an example (for no other reason than Jeffrey was on his fantasy team).

                            Hawkins set the scene. “You’re in the huddle, and you’re surrounded by grown men with families. Alshon Jeffrey is screaming at you: ‘I need the freaking ball!’ Are you able to look him in the eyes, assure him you’ll do what’s in the best interest of the offense, but also—get the man the ball? Are you ready to lead grown men?”

                            Mahomes didn’t hesitate; he said he’s been waiting for that moment his whole life. And for an NFL team, that moment could be coming sooner than anyone thought.
                            Photobucket has changed it's image hosting pricings, moving my $2/month plan to $480/year -- so most of the images I have posted here will revert to dead links sometime soon. There's no workaround other than replacing them one-by-one. So my posts the forums are going to look funky for a while. My apologies.


                            • #15
                              Mahomes: teams 'know I have the talent'

                              Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes is one of the potential solutions to the Houston Texans’ quagmire at the critical position.

                              He impressed at the podium while meeting the gathered media on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

                              Among the highlights from his Q&A session:

                              “Teams know I have the talent,” Mahomes responded to a question about his mechanics. He elaborated they want to see him “get my base right” when dealing with his rather unconventional footwork.

                              He brought up his background as the son of a major league baseball player, noting it “helped seeing the work ethic and what it takes” to be successful as a professional athlete.

                              When asked about his perceived rise on draft boards, Mahomes noted it’s more about teams seeing him play more than anything he’s done.

                              He did not answer specifics about which teams he has met with here in Indianapolis, but it’s common for every player to meet with every team.

                              For a longer look at Mahomes talking, I recorded a Periscope session for some of his time at the podium.
                              Mahomes at podium

                              March 3, 2017
                              Photobucket has changed it's image hosting pricings, moving my $2/month plan to $480/year -- so most of the images I have posted here will revert to dead links sometime soon. There's no workaround other than replacing them one-by-one. So my posts the forums are going to look funky for a while. My apologies.