It looks like Andy Reid and the Chiefs organization are ready to start grooming the next replacement for Alex Smith, and they liked Mahomes better than Deshaun Watson and Deshone Kizer.
My prediction was for Mahomes to go to the Chiefs today, but it ended up going down a little bit differently than expected:
Mahomes is not a first-round talent, but people like his arm and his confidence. This is such a weak quarterback class, but scouts are saying they expect up to five quarterbacks being selected in the first 35 picks. If that’s true, Mahomes has to go in the first round, but I don’t buy in to the idea of him being worth a top-15 pick. I think there’s too much talent on defense that will still be available in that portion of the draft, so I think Mahomes will fall to the late first round. I think Houston Texans fans will be clamoring to get their hands on Mahomes with the 25th pick, but I don’t think Bill O’Brien likes Mahomes any more than he likes Tom Savage, and there’s a rumor going around that the Texans are going after Jay Cutler. And, while I don’t think the Chiefs should spend their first round pick on a mediocre quarterback prospect, the pressure of replacing the old and average Alex Smith will force them into taking Mahomes at No. 27. He’d be a great fit in Kansas City. He has the arm strength to make the tough throws in cold, windy weather and he’ll have time to sit back and learn from the most average mentor ever in Alex Smith. Prediction - Kansas City Chiefs
Mahomes understands the stigma against Air Raid quarterbacks because there have been so many failures coming out of spread systems in college. The bottom line for him? He just wants an opportunity to show what he can do on his own merits.
“You look back at the system quarterback, a lot of guys didn’t work out,” Mahomes said at the NFL Combine. “So for me, it’s just going to be about proving those guys wrong, going out there and really showing my knowledge of the game and just competing. It’ll all show up when you get to the field.”
Now the Chiefs have given him that chance after trading up from the No. 27 pick to the No. 10 pick, paying a significant price to do so because the organization clearly believed that Mahomes wasn’t going to be available at that time — Kansas City gave up the No. 91 pick this year and the team’s first-round pick next season.
So there is some extra pressure on Mahomes to succeed, but because the Chiefs already have a starter in Alex Smith, the Texas Tech product should have some time to develop and make the necessary refinements to his mechanics.
Given the lack of patience NFL teams have had with other Air Raid quarterbacks in the past, the fact that Mahomes will have that chance to get used to the demands of NFL systems should help his odds of success.