3 team fits for quarterback prospect Patrick Mahomes
Former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft. Mahomes has rare ability to make all types of off-platform throws or throws from any arm angle or moving in any direction. He also needs to clean up some fundamentals and needs to learn to stay in the pocket a bit more to play at a consistently high-level and to prevent injury in the NFL. In 2016, 13.7 percent of Mahomes’ passes came on scrambles, the second-highest mark in the draft class. His physical skillset gives him a tremendously high ceiling but he will need to develop some skills in order to maximize his abilities at the NFL level. Mahomes would be best suited to sitting for one year behind an established starter but could also push to start immediately on some teams. Here’s a look at the best fits for Mahomes, with some information from his PFF scouting report:
What he does best:
- Smooth, whip release with power and touch.
- Arm is special and may define the term “arm talent.”
- Can make any throw with accuracy and power to and level/area of the field, from every type of platform and arm angle.
- Incredibly instinctive, intuitive player with a good feel for passing game.
- Athletic in the pocket with ability to make rushers miss, or shed with strength.
- Anticipates well. Time from locating receiver to ball out of his hand is extremely quick.
- Overall has good vision and ability to see multiple defenders in his reads.
- Poise to make any throw no matter what the chaos is around him in the pocket.
- Plays outside of the structure of the offense as well as anyone in the NFL does right now.
- Gritty playmaker. Wants the ball in his hands and delivers when his team needs it most.
Philip Rivers has been an excellent quarterback for the Chargers, but he was rumored to be mulling retirement and is obviously on the tail end of his career. Investing a top-10 pick in the quarterback position might seem a little rich with a quarterback the caliber of Rivers still playing well. However, drafting the Rivers replacement now gives the rookie at least one season to learn to prepare like a professional behind Rivers.
Mahomes has the natural skill and playing style to become an instant star in Los Angeles. He has some mechanical issues that need to be worked out and could also use a year behind a veteran quarterback to iron those out. Rivers sat for two years behind Drew Brees, so perhaps that model continues and Mahomes sits behind Rivers for two seasons before taking over and giving the Chargers long-term stability at the most important position.
One consideration that must be taken into account for quarterbacks in Cleveland is the whipping windy conditions on the playing field. If the Browns’ offense hopes to be consistently productive at home they need a quarterback with the arm strength to drive the ball through the wind in order to still place accurate passes downfield. Mahomes has one of the strongest arms in the past few draft classes and shouldn’t have any issues with the breeze off the lake. He can make throws downfield or across the field that few college quarterbacks have been able to make.
The Browns still have not found their long-term starter at quarterback. Cody Kessler will have a chance to earn that spot but an upgrade can be found in this draft. The Browns could be sitting right where they need to get Mahomes with their second first-round pick at No. 12 as the quarterback-needy Cardinals sit at pick 13.
The Cardinals very well could decide to wait until next year to draft a quarterback early in the draft and instead use their No. 13 pick this year to bolster their defense. The team is trying to maximize a potential championship-window of one or maybe two seasons with both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald on the roster together.
If the Cardinals want to add a quarterback early in this draft to become the heir apparent to Palmer, then Mahomes fits the bill perfectly. Mahomes’ aggressive decision-making as a quarterback will fit right in with Bruce Arians’ aggressive decision-making as a play-caller. Mahomes has the arm to take the deep shots that Arians likes to take each game. In 2016, Mahomes threw 15 touchdowns on deep passes (targeted 20 or more yards downfield).