DALLAS - To call Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes a prolific athlete would be an understatement. As a high school senior, a feature on MaxPreps claimed him to be the nation’s best all-around athlete for his dominance in football, baseball and basketball at Whitehouse (TX).
Baseball was always his first sport (he is the son of former Rangers pitcher Pat Mahomes, after all), and he even went to Tech as a two-sport athlete playing both baseball and football for two years before concentrating solely on football for his junior year.
Why does any of this matter as it relates to the NFL Draft? One of the first traits that get prospects recognized by NFL scouts is natural athletic ability, and Mahomes oozes with it. And when the tape comes on, there may not be a player more fun to study in this class.
The first thing that stands out when you watch Mahomes is his arm strength. He has an absolute cannon and can make every throw on the field. Plays like this will leave talent evaluators salivating.
Mahomes has man coverage on his primary read, but is forced to make his throw in the face of pressure. Typically, you don’t want your QB throwing off his back foot, but Mahomes drops an absolute dime with the ball traveling 55 yards in the air as he is falling back.
Mahomes also loves to use his athletic ability to get out of the pocket and make plays. Here you will see shades of Aaron Rodgers as he feels pressure to his left, jukes the free defender and delivers a strike as he is throwing across his body on the move.
He isn’t a 4.5 40 guy by any means, but he is dangerous outside of the pocket and he always keeps his eyes downfield as demonstrated on the previous play.
The back-shoulder fade is a red zone staple in the NFL, and this might be the most translatable play Mahomes makes in this study. We again see his arm strength as he throws from the outside hash to the far side of the field where he delivers an accurate ball that can only be caught at its highest point by his receiver.
On top of his arm strength and athletic ability, Mahomes has the size you are looking for in a quarterback in today’s NFL. Listed at 6’3” 230 pounds he's built like a linebacker and he is hard to get down both in the pocket and when he escapes. He has a competitive fire that you look for in your starting QB. Tech had one of the worst defenses in the nation over the last two years and Mahomes willed them to competitive results.
As much as there is to like about Mahomes’ natural ability, he is raw as an NFL prospect. He will take time to translate to a more complicated NFL scheme coming from Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid where Mahomes put up eye-popping numbers. He also needs to work on his mechanics. Often you watch him and wonder if he is playing backyard football as he has a lot of the “oh no, oh no, oh wow” plays on tape that drive coaches crazy.
But in a year without a crown jewel at QB, I like Mahomes the best based purely on his natural talent. I think a team with an established QB towards the end of their career (think New Orleans or Pittsburgh) would be wise to take him and let him sit for a year or two while he develops. In the right situation, I think we will one day be talking about Mahomes torching NFL defenses the same way he torched the Big 12.
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