Stock Watch: NFL Draft Experts’ Take on Mahomes

By Jonah Tuls

A day when dreams become a reality.

The first round of the 2017 NFL draft begins at 7 p.m., April 27, and according to some draft experts, former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II could hear his name called on the opening night.

Marcus Mosher, a featured columnist at Bleacher Report, said he believes Mahomes is going to be picked early in the first round, but he said he would be against it for a number of reasons.

Picture provided by Texas Tech Athletics.

“I think Mahomes will go anywhere from 10 to 25 in the first round,” Mosher said. “I’m not a big fan of his game because he relies way too much on freelancing and unstructured plays. I wouldn’t take him until the second or third round, but he will go much earlier because of his arm talent.”

Throughout his career at Texas Tech, Mahomes played in a offense known as the “air raid” system.

As defined on the Sporting Charts website, the “air raid” system is an offensive philosophy that emphasizes a significant amount of short passes in a spread formation, inflating quarterbacks’ statistics as a result.

According to a study by Jason Kirk on the SB Nation website, only one quarterback drafted from an “air raid” college offense, Nick Foles, recorded a passer rating of over 85 in a single season in the NFL.

Mosher said the “air raid” offense Mahomes played in at Texas Tech was a key factor in deciding his draft grade for the junior quarterback.

“In general, I like quarterbacks who play in more structured offenses, so I’m going to be much lower on him,” Mosher said.

In a phone interview, Luke Easterling, the editor of The Draft Wire at USA Today, said he believes NFL draft analysts should not paint Mahomes with a broad brush because of the offense he played in.

“I think it’s easy for us to scout the helmet instead of the player,” Easterling said, “especially when we’ve seen quarterbacks come through that offense and program, but Mahomes is a perfect example of why that doesn’t work.”

Easterling said Mahomes is not a finished product, but if developed properly, he said he has the traits to become a starting quarterback in the NFL.

“He has translatable traits, and his knack for making plays when the pocket breaks down is remarkable,” Easterling said. “His footwork and mechanics can get sloppy, but we said the same thing about Derek Carr, who is now a Pro Bowl quarterback.”

As a result, Easterling said he thinks Mahomes is almost guaranteed to be a lock for a top selection in the first round.

Photo by Abigail Aldrich

“His physical tools will likely get him drafted in the top 15,” Easterling said. “The Cleveland Browns at 12, or the Arizona

Cardinals at 13 is probably his floor. Arm strength like that is rare, and he’s a sharp guy who understands what defenses are trying to do to him.”

Jon Ledyard, an NFL draft analyst at FanRag Sports and Inside the Pylon, said he also believes Mahomes is going to be drafted in the first round.

“I have an early second round grade on Mahomes, but his upside and mental makeup will get him drafted in the first round,” Ledyard said. “His arm strength and ability to play in and out of structure will definitely get teams excited.”

Ledyard said Mahomes intrigues the NFL because he has some traits at the quarterback position coaches cannot teach.

“Mahomes’ physical traits are obviously rare and his arm is among the most elite we’ve seen in the past 20 to 30 years,” Ledyard said, “but it’s his mental makeup and competitive drive that really sets him apart.”

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