While the 2017 NFL Draft isn’t till April, one name to keep an eye on is Texas Tech Red Raiders junior quarterback, Patrick Mahomes II.
The son of former 11-year MLB veteran Pat Mahomes, Mahomes II is looking to blaze a path all his own out in Lubbock and hopefully begin a new one entirely in Philadelphia next spring.
With mock drafts from now until the upcoming draft talking about the likes of Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Miami (FL)’s Brad Kaaya and Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly, Mahomes could be perhaps a draft-day steal.
After passing for 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2015-16 in head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s high-octane Air Raid Offense, and 2,274 yards, 20 touchdowns and ten interceptions is the 6’3, 230-pound Mahomes destined to be another Big 12 quarterback bust in the NFL?
Much like the SEC is hated for being the proverbial 600-pound gorilla in winning national titles, the Big 10, much maligned—and hated—for their bowl season failures and the Pac-12 for being overrated, the Big 12 has a shaky record for no defense and spread offense single read-and-throw quarterbacks putting up inflated stats and flopping on Sundays.
For the same conference that has produced the likes of Troy Aikman (Oklahoma/UCLA*) and Kordell Stewart (Colorado**), the jury is still out on possible stars such as Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Andy Dalton (TCU***) and Ryan Tannehill (Texas A &M****)
As stated above, the Big 12 has recently earned a suspect reputation amongst NFL circles in producing quality QB’s thanks to the production—and failures—of Josh Freeman (Kansas State), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Vince Young and Colt McCoy (Texas), Robert Griffin III (Baylor) and Blaine Gabbert (Missouri *****).
Editor’s Note: * = Aikman transferred from Oklahoma to UCLA after his freshman season in 1984-85, ** = Colorado moved from the Big 12 to Pac-12 following the 2009-10 season., *** = TCU moved from the Mountain West To the Big 12 in 2012., **** = Texas A & M moved from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2011., ***** = Missouri moved from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2011.
Not to say that Mahomes may be the next Big 12 quarterback to flop at the next level, but he is fighting against the stereotype of playing in a conference that is right out of Madden and doesn’t have NFL-level quality prospects on defense.
While it’s unfair, Mahomes is fighting against the stereotype as general managers, scouts, NFL bloggers and critics will highly scrutinize and nitpick his gaudy numbers as being nothing more than a byproduct of a pass-happy system playing in a wide-open conference.
Stats wise, Mahomes holds up well against the likes of Kizer, Watson and Kaaya, but on many mock drafts, he is the 4th and possibly 5th QB on the board and projected to be a Day 2 or 3 prospect.
Again, is that fair? No.
But name the last Big 12 quarterback to successfully play in the NFL over the last five years. I’ll wait.
For all we know Mahomes, just may break that trend and be the exception to the rule, who knows, but since he has no experience under center—as Kingsbury’s Air Raid system is predominantly shotgun-based, nor an NFL-style pro offense, Mahomes could face a steep learning curve at the next level.
Can he defy the stereotype? We will find out soon enough.