By Chris Emma–
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (CBS) — Forget the system from which he hails and just watch the pure talent of Patrick Mahomes.
That’s what scouts at the NFL Combine have done, and they’ve been impressed. In Mahomes, we have a fourth quarterback worthy of the first round in the NFL Draft. As for the pass-happy system? Who cares, many are now saying.
“I can make every NFL throw,” Mahomes said Friday. “The deep comebacks, the gos, the post-corners, everything like that.”
Mahomes then went to Lucas Oil Stadium a day later and proved his words right.
With a thick frame at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Mahomes is a good athlete at the quarterback position. He has the ability to extend plays with his feet and can make defenders miss. That’s a key component to his adjustment into a pro-style offense.
Mahomes has excelled during his interviews in Indianapolis this week, as one NFL source said. His knowledge of the game will also expedite the process of learning a new offense.
The upside seems clear, but Mahomes will likely require a season of development. It will take NFL coaching to fine-tune his game for this level. Teams have realized this part of his game, but Mahomes has proved before that he can grow as a quarterback.
As a freshman at Texas Tech, Mahomes beat out another draft prospect, Davis Webb, to become starting quarterback. He then threw for 9,705 yards and 77 touchdowns in two seasons as a starter before declaring for the draft.
So began his attempt to thwart the trend of Texas Tech quarterbacks and break free of the system.
“You look back at the system quarterback, a lot of guys didn’t work out,” Mahomes said. “So for me, it’s just going to be about proving those guys wrong, going out there and really showing my knowledge of the game and just competing. It’ll all show up when you get to the field.”
The arm strength of Mahomes certainly can’t be denied, but it’s easy to look good in what Bears coach John Fox calls the “Underwear Olympics.” How Mahomes can handle pocket pressure and recognize coverages will define his transition to the NFL. His athleticism will be of benefit in the pocket, but that’s just part of the equation.
The Bears are among teams looking to find a franchise quarterback, and now they must put Mahomes in the same conversation as Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer and Mitchell Trubisky.
While the title of top quarterback is up for discussion, Mahomes has at least placed himself in that top tier. He will get first-round grades and may just end up getting taken in the first round. The Bears could look to take a defensive player early in the first and move for Mahomes later.
He sees himself as a worthwhile investment.
“There are a lot of guys who are really good in this class,” Mahomes said. “I’m going to compete hard. I definitely think I could be. I have the talent to be. So it’s going to be all on who works the hardest off the field from the film work, the in your practice, exactly how you want it. That will determine who is the best guy.”
Mahomes is out to shred the system label and prove his worth as a top quarterback in this class. His upside is being widely recognized.