Today, we welcome in SB Nation’s NFL draft expert, Dan Kadar, to talk Patrick Mahomes and his draft stock.
Zach Mason: A Cleveland.com report said there's a chance Mahomes doesn't fall out of the first 15 picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Is that a stretch, or is there enough Mahomes can show in the next couple weeks to catapult him into the first half of the first round?
Dan Kadar: Saying he won’t fall out of the top 15 is a stretch, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility considering how many teams need quarterbacks. Take the Cleveland Browns at No. 12 for instance. If they go into the draft without acquiring a viable veteran quarterback and take Myles Garrett at No. 1, it could open things up for Mahomes. The Arizona Cardinals at No. 13 would be a great spot for Mahomes. It would let him sit for a season and learn behind Carson Palmer. You can find some logic for Mahomes being a top 15 pick, but I still think it’s not a certainty to happen.
ZM: We know Mahomes has the strongest arm in the draft. We know he's mobile. We know he's every bit of 6'3. And we know he plays with tremendous confidence. What is he lacking that places him behind smaller guys like Watson and Trubisky?
DK: The knock on Mahomes are his footwork, throwing into traffic and getting out on the move too much. Now, the good thing about Mahomes is that he seems fully aware of his issues and that they need work. There’s something to say for that type of self-awareness.
ZM: How concerned are GM's that he can't take snaps under center? Isn't that a fairly easy skill to teach?
DK: Taking snaps from under center is a concern, but it’s something so many quarterbacks have an issue with now that it’s not exclusive to Mahomes. For some quarterbacks, it can be an extremely hard thing to correct because they have to learn to drop while also keeping their eyes up and reading the defense. That can be a lot to ask. In an ideal situation, Mahomes would get to sit for a year and really learn how to drop and figure out his technique.
ZM: Why is the QB position so difficult to project? Every year teams swing and miss. Looks like Goff isn't going to pan out, either. What makes this position so challenging to evaluate?
DK: Evaluating a quarterback is such a challenge because a lot of how they perform early in their careers is dependent on what they have around them. Take Goff as the example. I think it’s too early to say whether or not he’ll pan out. But in the situation he was in, it’s impossible to pass judgment. The Rams offense was a disaster last year. The offensive line, which has been an issue for the Rams for years, was a mess. The team was supposed to be run-based but Todd Gurley’s play took a step backward. Plainly, Jeff Fisher just isn’t a good coach. So you combine all those things together, I think it would be hard to find a rookie quarterback who would succeed with those circumstances.
ZM: Lastly, what teams do you think would be a good fit for Mahomes, regardless of where they might pick him? What's the best landing spot for him?
DK: I really think the Cardinals are the best situation for Mahomes. He fits the offense because their head coach Bruce Arians requires a quarterback with a big arm. And I think Mahomes is best-served sitting a year, and he could do that in Arizona. The Cardinals have talked to Palmer about mentoring a young quarterback, and at the combine their general manager said he’d love to do it. Arizona also has a good roster, so the team wouldn’t be fully dependent on Mahomes being a star for him to succeed.
Well, there it is. I know a lot of Tech fans are hoping the Texans grab Mahomes, but it looks like Arizona could be the best situation for the young quarterback to join. In a draft with so much uncertainty at the game’s most important position, anything can happen.
I’d like to thank Dan Kadar for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answers these questions.