FRISCO, Texas — These words will be about Patrick Mahomes through the eyes of some who’ve spent more time around him the last three years than anyone else, but before we get to that let’s squash the notion that drafting the Chiefs’ quarterback of the future was part of the organization’s bizarre front office breakup.
This comes from Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, unintentionally, in a hallway off the side at Big 12 football media days this week.
It’s at the end of a conversation about Mahomes, who went from a quarterback competition his junior year of high school to one Power Five scholarship offer to the 10th pick in the NFL draft in less than four years.
Kingsbury is asked if he was surprised by “the Dorsey thing.”
“Umm ... which thing? What?”
John Dorsey. He got fired.
“I didn’t know he got fired. When was that? Really?”
Yeah, about a month ago.
“I hadn’t heard that. I didn’t have any dealings with him. I dealt with coach (Andy) Reid. I didn’t know that, but that’s surprising.”
Wait. You never talked with the GM?
“Maybe on draft day or something, but I don’t think so.”
Can we all agree that it’s extremely unlikely that Reid was in any way surprised or upset at picking a quarterback for which he served as the primary contact with the college coach?
Now, more about Mahomes, whom Chiefs fans will be able to see throwing for their team for the first time as training camp begins Monday.
The first time John Dorsey talked about Mahomes publicly after the draft he mentioned this play against Louisiana Tech. It’s an absurd play, really. Mahomes escapes the pocket to his left and as he’s running parallel to the line of scrimmage shoots the ball sidearm, across his body, some 50 or more yards down the field for a perfect strike touchdown.
“Freakiest play he made,” Kingsbury said. “He was just showing off, yeah.”
Would you believe that wasn’t the first time Mahomes made that play?
Actually, it wasn’t even the second time.
Mahomes started less than two full seasons at quarterback at Whitehouse High, but left behind a wild highlight tape that includes one play his longtime friend Dylan Cantrell says is just as, if not more, impressive than the throw against Louisiana Tech.
This was Mahomes’ junior year in the opening round of the playoffs. Mahomes scrambled to his right, then dipped back to his left —some 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage — before heaving it downfield.
Cantrell caught it, then leaned into the end zone.
“Scramble, scramble, scramble, roll out, roll back around, probably ran across the field three times and just chucked it deep,” Cantrell said.
Mahomes has always been raw as a quarterback. He played more baseball than football growing up.
Mahomes wasn’t Whitehouse’s full-time quarterback until midway through his junior season.
His only offers out of high school were Texas Tech, Houston and Rice, according to Rivals. He won the job at Tech his freshman year.
“Crazy to see,” Cantrell said. “He was in a quarterback competition his junior year in high school, then he’s the 10th pick in the draft.”
Kingsbury says Mahomes’ mechanics were “funky” back then, his drop backs more like foot slides and the ball swinging wildly in his hands before throws.
“But if you go back and watch his highlights,” Kingsbury said, “you will think, ‘How was nobody else in on this guy?’ He was unbelievable.”
He was a marketing major, and a regular on the President’s and Dean’s lists.
“Maybe it’s his style of play or improvisational skills, but people assume he’s not a cerebral cat,” Kingsbury said. “I’m telling you, the way he picks things up off the board, or off the film, it’s as good as anyone I’ve ever been around.”
The two most prevalent criticisms of Mahomes are inconsistent mechanics and occasionally missing on his risk-reward calculations. But both can be contextualized, if not fully forgotten. There are times that the chaos of NFL games requires a quarterback to make throws from spontaneous arm angles or body positions.
There are some scouts who believe quarterbacks who rely too much on clean mechanics and timing are the ones who fail in the NFL.
As for the carelessness, Mahomes threw 10 interceptions in 591 attempts. His 1.7 interception percentage is comparable to No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky (1.3) and significantly better than Deshaun Watson (4.4).
Also, at least a few of Mahomes’ interceptions were the type his coaches accepted and in some ways encouraged.
“We weren’t great up front, and we needed to score a bunch of points, so we knew there would be times he tried to do too much, but we would live with it,” Kingsbury said.
The Chiefs have made clear they want Mahomes to sit, for at least a year. That would give Mahomes time to learn.
Mahomes is still just 21 years old, Kingsbury is convinced he and the Chiefs could make it work if circumstances changed.
“I just know the kid, and he’s so competitive he would have some success,” Kingsbury said. “But coach Reid could script some things to keep him comfortable. I want him to sit, but if he gets thrown out there, he’ll do some things to make you say, ‘Wow.’ “