If you're a quarterback in Texas running the spread attack that is prevalent throughout the state, playing for Texas Tech is a natural fit. The son of the former major league pitcher of the same name has a big-league arm, and used it quite a bit in high school (4,619 yards, 50 TDs as a senior) and more than anyone else in college football the past two seasons. Mahomes began his career by starting the Red Raiders' final four games his true freshman year (1,547 yards, 16 TDs, four INTs, 56.8 completion percentage), one of those games being a 598-yard, six-touchdown effort against a top-10 team in Baylor. He earned honorable mention All-Big 12 notice for the second straight year in 2015, starting every game and leading the FBS with 393 yards of total offense per game (4,653 yards, 36 TDs, 15 INTs, 63.5 completion pct). Mahomes was a second-team all-conference pick in his final year with Tech in 2016, leading the FBS with 421 passing yards per game (5,052 total, 41 TDs, 10 INTs, 65.7 completion pct). He's also been a threat with his big-bodied frame and strong legs the past three years, scoring 22 times on the ground.
Possesses NFL body type for work inside and out of the pocket. Has an undeniable swagger and confidence to his game. Accuracy has improved in each season since his freshman year. Naturally accurate in his every day throws. Comfortable challenging defenders in space. Has arm strength and fearlessness to attack the cover-2 voids down the sideline. Can make deep, field side throws. Cranks up velocity to fit passes into tight windows. Former pitcher who propels hips through his release with aggressive torque and never gets cheated on his follow-through. Can deliver strikes from a variety of arm angles. Expedites release on RPOs (run-pass option) or when pressure is mounting in pocket. Puts effort into play-action fakes. Relaxed and effective when throwing on the move. Can be a legitimate dual-threat in a boot-action offense. Improved his eye manipulation over the years and will eyeball linebackers to hold them while patterns unfold around them. Has pocket mobility to escape pressure and the poise to extend plays and find alternate targets. Hands are very strong. Can pump and reset without issues. Competes as a runner and is willing to go the extra mile for the first down.
Can be inconsistent in his approach. Needs to play inside the offense and show more discipline. Too eager to go big game hunting. Ravenous appetite for the explosive play can also bring unwanted trouble. Willingness to default to playground style appears to limit his ability to get into a consistent rhythm. Needs to improve anticipatory reads and learn to take what the defense gives him. Decision making can go from good to bad in a moment's notice. Operates from a narrow base and allows his upper body and arm to race ahead of his feet. Has a dip and wind-up in his standard release. Explosive delivery and follow-through causes some throws to sail. Needs better touch on intermediate and deep balls. Carries ball a little low in the pocket. Impatient. Will leave pocket prematurely rather than standing in and winning in rhythm. Better as a scrambler than pure runner. Looked a little less mobile in the open field this season.
Sources Tell Us
"He's got a great arm, big balls and he's mobile. He is going to drive his head coach crazy for the first couple of years and there is no getting around that. If it clicks for him and he's coachable, I think he could become a special quarterback." - NFC executive
Mahomes is a big, confident quarterback who brings a variety of physical tools to the party, but he's developed some bad habits and doesn't have a very repeatable process as a passer. Mahomes' ability to improvise and extend plays can lead to big plays for his offense, but he will have to prove he can operate with better anticipation and be willing to take what the defense gives him in order to win from the pocket. Mahomes will be a work in progress, but he's a high ceiling, low floor prospect.