Patrick Mahomes had about two hours to show the New Orleans Saints why he should be their quarterback of the future.
An hour with a grease pen in his hand, another hour with a football in his hand, and one shot to make the right impression. Head coach Sean Payton came to the Texas Tech campus on Tuesday along with Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and some front-office brass, as well. Of course, only the Saints staff knows exactly how much they liked what they saw, but Mahomes sensed their compliments were more than just obligatory pleasantries.
"I know they loved how well-prepared I was. They could tell I had really studied and knew my stuff," Mahomes told NFL.com. "And they liked the way the ball came out of my hand. They said every time they see me under center, I look better and better."
That's crucial, of course, because playing from under center is a concept Mahomes is learning on the fly this spring. It's more than just a footwork adjustment -- terminology recall, taking command of a huddle, and complex pre-snap reads are part of the challenge, too -- but Mahomes is getting more confident by the day. And having already interviewed with the Saints at the NFL Scouting Combine, he's now getting to know the staff a bit better, too.
"They wanted to see me throw the dig routes, go-routes, the post, things that their offense hinges on. Also some quick-game stuff -- how fast can I get the ball out, and how does it come out if my feet aren't set exactly where they need to be," Mahomes said. "I've tried to learn something with each workout and apply it to the next. I went to a Texas Tech spring practice this week, and I was watching it how an NFL quarterback sees it, instead of like a college offense."
The Saints were Mahomes' fourth private workout, with a two-day trip to Orlando for a taping of "Gruden's QB Camp" wedged in between. He'll work out for a fifth club Thursday, though Mahomes said the team has requested secrecy on its identity.
"The workouts are helping me out with my timing and throwing to my receivers, who I haven't thrown to in a couple months. Getting to throw with them every day for teams, that's helping to get me ready for pro day (March 31)," Mahomes said. "I'm looking forward to seeing some of these teams again there."