Predicting the next Patrick Mahomes is clearly impossible since he is a transcendent superstar and sports are much like russina roulette, sometimes it hits, and sometimes it doesn’t. He has shown that is not only one of the better quarterbacks in recent history, but he is also a great quarterback for change in the time of pandemic and racial injustice. Roger Gooddell was willing just a few years ago to entirely dismess protesting during the anthem, but the moment Patrick Mahomes sent a statement out, Goodell was quick to ask for change. On the field, he has already accomplished so much in his young career. He has had an MVP season with 50+ touchdowns in his first year starting, and followed that up with a superbowl winning season. So when we take a look back at the year he was drafted, we have to wonder why he was not the first QB taken? Further, we must assess his career as it stands and how he got where he is today so we have a chance at predicting the next Patrick Mahomes.
In his Freshman year of highschool, we attended Whitehouse (Texas) where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He was stellar as far as his performance, but likely due to his background in multiple sports, he was only ranked as a three star prospect and the 12th dual-threat QB of his class. (on a seperate tangent here are a few quarterbacks that were ranked ahead of him: Kyle Allen, Brad Kaaya, Mason Rudolph, and Deshone Kizer). It was thanks to his commitment to Texas Tech that he was not highly drafted in the MLB draft. He ended up being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 37th round.
In his freshman year of college, he was the backup to QB Davis Webb until injury brought him down letting him start against Texas. Mahomes had a less than stellar performance, finishing wit hunder 150 yards passing. He finished out the year as the starter, setting records against a shootout with Baylor throwing just under 600 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also played baseball that year splitting his time with football as a relief pitcher.
Towards the end of his college career, Mahomes had high hopes for where he could lead Texas Tech. He did exactly that as far as the stats he finished with; however, the team record was subpar. He was largely unheard of right up until the run up for the draft. The top quarterbacks were unquestionably Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky with Trubisky being (to the national media) the clear NO. 1 QB in the class (lol). The chiefs had just come off a promising season with Alex Smith leading the pack, but they decided to trade up in the draft to land the loose cannon Patrick Mahomes.
Andy Reid’s plan was to sit Mahomes in year 1, letting him learn how to be a pro under Alex Smith. Mahomes was a younger guy and needed some maturing, and obviously at this point we see it was the best for him. After his 1st year (which many consider a redhsirt year where he only had 1 start), the plan was to let him let the cannon loose all summer so he learned what he could and couldn’t get away with. It is also likely that Reid knew he would throw some questionable balls with the media watching which would lead to nationwide speculation that Mahomes was, and I quote “not good” so other NFL teams didn’t expect the absolute dominance he was about to deliver.
He delivered them to the postseason with an MVP under his belt only to fall to the Dynasty known as the Patriots who went on to win the superbowl. Mahomes spent the offseason studying defenses as that is one of the few places he could really improve his game. He took a big step forward in his ability to take what the defense gives him and pick apart defenses rather than depending on explosive plays. This improvement paved the way for Mahomes to win his first superbowl in only his second season as a starter.
Pictured above are 3 quarterbacks of the future. To the left, we have “Rocket Arm” Jordan Love who is likely going to be learning under Aaron Rodgers for 2-3 more years before he has a chance to become the full time starter. In the center we have the “Juice” Trey Lance who is going into his junior year of college (the first year he is able enter the NFL Draft). To the right we have “swifty” Justin Fields who almost brought his team to a national championship in his first year as a starter at Ohio State. In my opinion, these three have the best chances of the up and coming QB’s to have a trajectory similar to Patrick Mahomes.
Jordan Love – Going into college, Jordan Love was faced with a similar situation to Patrick Mahomes. He had a live arm but was not heavily recruited and eventually elected to go to a smaller school in Utah State where he never really had the talent around him to show what he really could be. Leading up to the draft, many around the media and league were comparing him to Mahomes. He went late in the 1st round of the 2020 draft to the Green Bay Packers, where he will have all the time he needs to develop while Rodgers tries to grasp one more Lombardi Trophy.
Trey Lance – Trey Lance collected a national chamionship in his first year as a starter for the North Dakota State Bison (otherwise known as the FCS QBU, having seen Carson Wentz and Easton Stick come before him). This kid has an electric arm and just the right amount of touch. Going through his games, you really won’t see any bad tape as he is EXTREMELY good at taking care of the football having zero interceptions last year. He scored 42 touchdowns through the air and on the ground, and accumulated 3,386 all puprose yards. Obviously seeing where he attends college shows that he was not highly recruited in parellel with Mahomes. There isn’t really a pro comparison for this kid as he (right now) appears to be the compete package.
Justin Fields – Justin Fields exploded onto the college football scene this year with 41 passing touchdowns 10 rushing touchdowns, and 3,765 all purpose yards. Where this differs from Trey Lance is the clear talent surrounding fields which allows him to thrive. Fields has the arm to make all the throws an NFL Quarterback needs, and the legs to be a really good mobile QB in the NFL. My pro comparison more lines up with a rich man’s Dak Prescott than a Patrick Mahomes; however, he could take the league over in his own way.
When it comes to predicting the next Patrick Mahomes, I think the one player who fits the mold and has the real life experiences to put it all together and take the league by storm would be Trey Lance. If I were an NFL GM with the 1st overall pick, I am betting on my coaching system, and taking Trey Lance because he just has a different level of play. Nothing against Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields as those are great prospects just as well, but Lance will fit any system, but with the right one, he could be the next Patrick Mahomes.
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