INDIANAPOLIS -- The Kansas City Chiefs wiped out any notion of a quarterback controversy this offseason by agreeing to shipAlex Smith to the Washington Redskins.
The veteran's exodus opened up a clear path to the starting role for second-year passer Patrick Mahomes. The rocket-armed signal-caller operated as one of the more exciting newbies league-wide during last year's preseason action before showing well in a Week 17 start against the Denver Broncos.
Mahomes came into the league with a rash of raw aspects to his game, but Chiefs general manager Brett Veach believes his young quarterback is ready to roll.
"We had a plan for Patrick and that was to come in, learn the offense and not go out there and play until you have a firm mental grasp of what you want to accomplish," Veach said Thursday of Mahomes at the NFL Scouting Combine. "All the physical tools are there. He is one of the best players I have ever seen. But you don't want to throw them out there too soon. You want them to be who they are and not really process too much, just play. Coach [Andy Reid] had a vision, and we brought him along slowly, and we are excited for the future."
Veach turned heads in Indy by calling Mahomes "one of the best" he's witnessed, but it's not surprising to find out the Chiefs are nothing short of giddy over what their young quarterback brings to the table.
Mahomes offers next-level arm strength, a factor that has Veach -- per his words -- "in that market" for deep-threat weapons to pair with pass-catcher Tyreek Hill in the passing game.
"Look, Patrick has a cannon," Veach said. "Everybody wants fast receivers. But knowing you have a quarterback that really doesn't have a limit in how far he can throw is a good thing."
Said Veach: "I think what you do is you find out where your strengths and weaknesses are and you build around certain attributes players have. Patrick's skill set is maybe a little bit different than Alex's. Maybe the players that you surround him with, maybe work more to his skill set. Again, he is an exciting player, has a long way to go, but I think it will be fun surrounding him with talent moving forward."
Chiefs fans became accustomed to watching Kansas City operate as a consistently efficient offense under Smith. Mahomes is a vastly different passer and an emerging player who needs time to develop. That said, his upside is nothing short of tantalizing.
Look for the Chiefs to heat-seek a handful of speed-based wideouts and vertical threats to maximize the outrageous arm strength of their unusually gifted quarterback.