During the Fall of 2016, I sat in a classroom watching quarterback film and highlights of quarterback prospects with a friend of mine (yes, he is a Raiders fan and it was glorious). We watched the top four prospects, in no order, Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes II, DeShaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer. After watching the Kansas City Chiefs fail in yet another epic playoff losing fashion, I was on to the quarterbacks because I knew after Alex Smith failed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers after the defense only allowed six…SIX field goals. The Chiefs lost 18-16 after a bye week and the second seed in the AFC divisional round. I began to look at future quarterback prospects hoping the Chiefs would be bold and draft one. We all know the rest is history.
After doing some armchair scouting and watching these QB prospects, I had the Texas Tech sensation Patrick Mahomes II as my QB1, followed by Clemson’s DeShaun Watson. I didn’t like Mitchell Trubisky at all. Basically was like watching Alex Smith 2.0 and I wanted no part of that song and dance. I liked Watson’s “it” factor and the way he played in big time games under the bright lights of college football but there was just something about Mahomes that drew my ire. I fell in love with his backyard football style and improvisation. I’ve told friends and family that Patrick Mahomes II literally checks every box in the QB category (arm talent, football IQ, improvisation, pocket presence, throwing from different platforms, leadership, ball placement and throw on the run).
Check the Boxes
Mahomes has one of the best arms in the NFL. His arm talent is a remarkable trait that was showcased even as a baseball player growing up in Whitehouse, Texas. He was in the 8th grade throwing 90 mph. Former high school and college teammates say he can throw it 70 yards from his knees and 85 yards from his feet. But Patrick Mahomes II is much more than just your typical big strong-armed gunslinger.
Mahomes football IQ is said to be very high. It’s been reported that Mahomes whiteboard work is what separated him from DeShaun Watson when they were brought in for pre-draft visits. Mahomes is one of the 4 smartest players Bruce Arians sat down with on the whiteboard. According to a tweet from Sam Farmer of the LA Times, ‘Bruce Arians said Patrick Mahomes is one of the four smartest players he’s ever seen on the board, up there with Peyton and Luck.” Arians failed to reveal his fourth QB saying, “don’t want to say. That way, every other guy I have coached will think I’m talking about them.”
There’s a certain backyard aspect to Mahomes’ play that is similar to the likes of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. Mahomes can improvise and make sensational plays that will make you scream ‘oh no!’ and then moments later ‘heck yes!’ That’s where I believe Mahomes sets himself a part from other young QB prospects. That is a rare talent that only a select few have. It is what has helped KC have the league’s best offense after three weeks in the NFL.
Pocket presence and poise separates average QBs from the elite and top eschalon QBs. Mahomes has a tremendous feel in the pocket for a 23 year old QB. Pass rush and pressure does not force him to panic and breakdown. I have watched tons of QBs growing up and a lot of them will falter under pressure and panic. Mahomes’ footwork in the pocket has been cleaned up by the Chiefs coaching staff under Andy Reid, allowing his play in the pocket to take the next step in his quarterbacking dominance of 2018. Mahomes is already one of the best QBs under pressure. Coming into week 2, Mahomes QB rating when under pressure per Pro Football Focus was 132.9.
Throwing from different platforms:
Another elite trait that Mahomes has is the innate ability to throw from any platform in order to make the tough throws through traffic. It was on display in week 1 in Los Angeles against the Chargers. His quick slant throw to Tyreek Hill was 3/4 arm angle and hit Hill in stride allowing him to use his speed to score a touchdown. Throwing from different platforms allows QBs to make throws under duress in the pocket or out of the pocket when defenders are bearing down on them. This is just another example of what makes Patrick Mahomes II so promising for the Chiefs Kingdom fan base.
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