Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes announced his intentions on Tuesday to leave Lubbock and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
Let’s be honest. It was never all that likely that Patrick Mahomes was going to return to the Red Raiders. Nearly every factor to consider pointed towards an entrance to the 2017 NFL Draft.
He had accomplished everything he could in Lubbock. Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards this season with 41 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. This was coming off a 36 TD-15 INT campaign in 2015. Mahomes is third on Texas Tech’s career passing lists with 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns. But, another year in a spread-style offense, without a huddle or traditional play calling would not have prepared him any more for the NFL. In fact, one AFC scout said he felt Mahomes’ transition to a pro-style system and playbook will be tough because it’s like he’s “playing a different sport.” Hence, my suggestion last month to have Kliff Kingsbury tweak the playbook to incorporate more pro-style flairs to get Mahomes to stay. Alas, it was not meant to be.
As for the team, despite Mahomes’ incredible individual success, the Red Raiders were coming off a 5-7 season, going 3-6 in Big 12 play. A run at a conference title in 2017, with or without Mahomes, was slim to none. So, why return to maybe have a chance to play in … the Cactus Bowl? Pass.
And to put the icing on the cake, the 2017 NFL Draft class is relatively weak at the quarterback position. Deshaun Watson? Too small, not an NFL offense. Deshone Kizer? Average production at Notre Dame in 2016. Mitch Trubisky? Maybe the best prospect, but only started one season in college.
All the top quarterbacks in the draft are flawed. But, it is the most sought after position in the NFL. So, why not Mahomes? Sure, he has warts, but why can’t he be a second round pick? Does it seem crazy? Maybe to you, but not to Mahomes.
During his announcement the quarterback said, Mahomes said that, “Right now it’s somewhere in the 1st 2nd and 3rd rounds” as far as draft position. “I submitted my film and got a 2nd round grade.”
His decision is entirely understandable. If he return for another year, the concerns NFL general managers would have about him are still going to be there (most notably, the offense he played in). His arm, mobility, and size (6’3”, 230) are right up there with the best in the draft. Hell, look at what Dak Prescott is doing this year in Dallas. The fourth rounder out of Mississippi State had a very solid career in Starkville, but I would argue that Mahomes’ ceiling and raw abilities are better. Granted, Prescott has incredible poise and maturity, something that still remains to be seen with Mahomes. But, regardless, in a quarterback-desperate league, it just takes one GM and/or head coach to fall in love with Mahomes and pull the trigger.
So, when an NFL GM is analyzing the likes of Watson, Kizer, Trubisky, along with Kaaya, Kelly and Webb, I’d put Mahomes’ chances of success at least equivalent as every one of them. Along with having the physical skill set, Mahomes comes from a professional sports background with his father, Pat, a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He understands the importance of detail, routine, and professionalism, to have success at the next level.
It’s disappointing to see a talent like Mahomes leave Lubbock without ever having serious success as a team and program, but, that wasn’t his fault. Kingsbury never gave Mahomes the slightest semblance of a defense (which is all he would’ve needed) to win big time in the Big 12.
But, Mahomes could not put his career on hold to see if Kingsbury and defensive coordinator David Gibbs could finally figure out that side of the ball.
It was time for Mahomes to go. And we wish him the best as he begins preparations for the NFL Draft in San Antonio this week!
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