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Is Patrick Mahomes the Top Quarterback in the Draft?

One prospect that has been picking up steam over the past few weeks on #DraftTwitter is Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He was stuck on a team that had a non existent defense and offensive line this year, yet still managed to have a ridiculous season which included this game against Oklahoma:

  • 819 total yards (NCAA record)
  • 734 passing yards (tied for NCAA record)
  • 88 pass attempts (one short of NCAA record)

Mahomes put up the numbers that we love to see here at RotoViz. Right now he’s a fringe first round prospect according to most mock drafts, but after interviewing with many teams at the combine he could rise. There’s plenty of reasons for this.

Production

As I mentioned above, Mahomes had insane college production. His raw numbers look so impressive because he comes from an up-tempo Air Raid scheme which rarely ran the ball, and a defense that forced him to out score opponents to win games. Raw numbers may be fun to look at, but they provide almost no context to how good a quarterback is. When I look at quarterback’s numbers, I look for them to hit the following benchmarks in their final year:

  • Completion percentage greater than 60%
  • Adjusted yards per attempt greater than 9.2
  • Rushing yards greater than 150

Mahomes hits all these marks, and does so at a very young age — he just turned 21 in September. Here’s how he stacks up to some other first rounders and NFL stars:

NameAgeAYACompletion %Rushing YardsTD/INT Ratio
Deshaun Watson218.267.65242.47
Mitch Trubisky239.268.92707
Derek Carr238.768.91176.25
Russell Wilson2311.872.83388.25
Cam Newton2211.266.114734.29
Aaron Rodgers218.566.11263
Marcus Mariota2211.568.377010.5
Matt Stafford219.261.4402.5
Jameis Winston217.765.3651.39
Carson Wentz248.762.52944.25
Dak Prescott238.766.25885.8
Jared Goff229.464.5-83.31
Andrew Luck239.471.31503.7
Blake Bortles229.667.82722.78
Kirk Cousins24863.7-392.5
Paxton Lynch229.466.82397
Robert Griffin III2211.872.46996.17
Teddy Bridgewater2210.371784.43
Patrick Mahomes219.265.72854.1

Matt Stafford 2.0?

Mahomes looks very similar to Matthew Stafford, another gunslinger type quarterback. The two also had very similar testing numbers at the combine:

MeasurableMahomesStafford
Height (inches)7474
Weight (lbs)225225
Forty4.84.8
Broad (inches)114107
Vert3030.5
3 Cone6.887.06
Shuttle4.084.07
Hand Size (inches)9.2510

Despite the similarities, there’s one glaring difference. Mahomes hand is significantly smaller than Staffords, and this is no doubt a major area of concern. Jonathan Bales had shown that hand size is much more important to quarterbacks than height, as a bigger hand allows for a better grip and more control over passes. This is my biggest concern with him. He checks all the boxes for size, athleticism, and production, but his hand size and offensive system are two concerns. We still don’t know his velocity on throws from the combine, which is very important, but he clearly has a strong arm:

High Upside

Stafford has been a solid quarterback for the Lions, but Mahomes may have an even higher ceiling than he does. This past offseason was Mahomes’ first focusing on football full time. For the past two years, he was a relief pitcher on the Red Raiders baseball team. According to the Ringer, during high school:

the Arizona Diamondbacks called between the first and second rounds of the MLB draft and offered seven figures. The Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 37th round. Mahomes turned down both for Texas Tech.

He’s clearly a talented athlete, and now that he’s focusing solely on football, it’s possible his upside is even greater than he’s already shown.

Overall

Mahomes could be the best quarterback in this years class. While he was more turnover prone than Mitch Trubisky, he was a two year starter for his team and is also two years younger than him. Deshaun Watson might not have the same numbers as the other two, but he went to back-to-back national championship games and was a more prolific runner than either of the two. The three are very close for me, but in my opinion Mahomes has the best potential to end up as a top flight quarterback in the league.

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