Patrick Mahomes threw for 5,000+ yards and 40+ touchdowns last season, but by virtue of playing in Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense, he is considered by many a system quarterback whose talents won’t translate to the next level.
Mahomes disagrees. Strongly.
“With Coach (Kliff) Kingsbury and our offense, it wasn’t like we were holding signs up and he was just calling plays,” Mahomes said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It was him giving me total control of the offense. He would signal the play to me, I’d have to signal it to the receivers, I’d have to tell the running back what he had (to do) and I’d have to tell the line what protection it was. So just having to do all that – as well as having the freedom to change any play – he really put it where I had to go through my reads, do all that stuff and then at the same time make plays on the football field.”
It seems surreal that a player who threw for almost 10,000 yards in two seasons has to prove his legitimacy to NFL scouts. But Mahomes has had to just that – and, based on his rising draft stock, succeeded.
“Just showing them how much more control I’ve had over our offense than past Air Raid quarterbacks have had, I feel that’s helped out a lot,” Mahomes said. “I’ve kind of went up the draft boards as I’ve showed them what it takes to be an NFL quarterback and how much I’ve progressed in just a short amount of time. I’m just going to keep progressing with the hard work and the knowledge that I get exposed to.”
Still, stereotypes are hard to break, especially when there are jobs and millions of dollars at stake.
“You hear some stuff . . . that I know I’ve been working on and I know I need to get better at,” Mahomes said. “But there’s some stuff where they kind of just stereotype me as that typical Air Raid quarterback when they don’t understand how much I actually do and how much I really take care of at the line and how much I understand the offense and defenses that I’m playing against. Every coach I meet with, I get to explain (that) to them. Those are the people that really count. The media can kind of say what they want to say, but they haven’t really talked to me and understood everything that I’m actually doing.”
Mahomes, a potential first-round pick, believes that face time with coaches has really helped his cause.
“No doubt,” the 21-year-old said. “I feel like I’ve really been able to really show how well I process information, as well as how much I’ve done and understood at Texas Tech. That’s really what I feel like has helped me go up the draft bards and rise up. They’ve understood that I’m actually doing a lot of those things and I’m not just looking at signs on the sideline.”