Kansas City Chiefs: Pat Mahomes Comes With A Measuring Stick

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Chiefs are being questioned over their pick of Patrick Mahomes. However, there is a readily available measuring stick for this pick in Deshaun Watson.

For most fans of the Kansas City Chiefs, the selection of Patrick Mahomes in the first round was an instant success. While he hasn’t played a single down of NFL football yet, Mahomes holds the distinction of being the first Chiefs quarterback taken in the first round since 1983. However, his real success will be easily determined thanks to the Houston Texans.

It was a surprise for just about everyone that the Chiefs traded up to the tenth overall pick to take Pat Mahomes. However, it was just as big, if not bigger, surprise when Houston moved up to number twelve to take Deshaun Watson. The similarity of the two moves will forever tie these decisions together.

For the selection of Pat Mahomes, the Chiefs gave up their first round pick (#27), a third round pick (#91), and a 2018 first round pick. That’s a big haul. However, the Texans made a similar move by giving up their first (#25) and 2018 first to get to the twelfth spot. Two teams starting in the same draft range moved up to the same draft range, giving up similar hauls, and drafted the same position. Yep, easy comparison.

I’d love to sit here and tell you how the Chiefs won this (and I do believe that), but there’s no way to do that without a bias. It’s also impossible to do until this whole thing plays out. Both quarterbacks have interesting traits that people will focus on.

Patrick Mahomes

There is no denying the arm talent of Pat Mahomes. Between that and his athleticism, you’re talking about a guy with a tremendous ceiling. He set NCAA passing records this past year at Texas Tech. According to Mahomes, he also had free reign to call plays and make changes in college. That was one of the major unknowns about him, and could be a game-changer.

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On the downside, watching Patrick Mahomes can be frustrating as his mechanics are all over the place. He forces a lot of throws, and makes some questionable decisions. His accuracy isn’t always on the mark, largely due to those mechanics. He has no experience in an NFL style offense.

One of the x-factors for Pat Mahomes is going to be the Kansas City Chiefs QB coach, Mike Kafka. A former Andy Reid quarterback in Philadelphia, Kafka also came into the NFL with inconsistent mechanics. While I won’t sit here and pretend to have broken down the Kafka film from Philly (is there any?), the fact that he’s become a coach would suggest he fixed those mechanics.

Deshaun Watson

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If your biggest factor in getting a quarterback is “being a winner”, then Deshaun Watson is definitely your guy. Stepped up big in big moments. He’s a dynamic player and an excellent athlete. Watson is not the kind of guy to get “rattled” in big spots.

I’ve got more questions about Deshaun Watson than Pat Mahomes. Watson came from a very simplified system at Clemson where the coach made all of the decisions. His accuracy was all over the place, and he threw a lot of interceptions. Has plenty of arm strength, but lacks zip on his passes. Watson made a lot of questionable throws in his career.

The advantage that Deshaun Watson has in this comparison is that he has a legitimate chance to start this year. Despite all the talk in Houston about Tom Savage, I would be surprised if Watson didn’t take this competition to the wire. If he gets on the field early, a lot of people will instantly say the Texans got the better end of these trades.

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The good news for the Kansas City Chiefs is that there is no immediate pressure on them to play Pat Mahomes. Alex Smith is an established starter in the NFL, and the Chiefs have been winning…a lot. As long as they continue to play as they should, Andy Reid should be able to bring Mahomes along slowly.