Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes Compared to Recent NFL First-Round Bust

Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill

Getty Kansas City Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill watch from the bench on October 24, 2021.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 3-4 and the hot takes are beginning to get a bit absurd.

It’s one thing when someone says that KC’s playoff window is closing, or that Patrick Mahomes is no longer the top quarterback in the AFC, but a recent comparison from FanSided staff writer John Buhler takes things to the extreme.

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Buhler: ‘Is Mahomes Turning Into Jameis Winston?’

In a recent article, Buhler theorized that Mahomes could be regressing into Jameis Winston, the first overall pick in 2015 that turned into a bust for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His main reasoning behind this was the former MVP’s ridiculous turnover rate in 2021.

“Kansas City Chiefs fans are slowly watching Patrick Mahomes devolve into Jameis Winston,” the writer began before backtracking slightly. “Okay, that is a tad melodramatic, but Mahomes is straight-up refusing to stop turning the football over.”

He continued later: “While Mahomes had a reckless abandon label coming out of Texas Tech, one would have thought his gunslinger Air Raid mentality would be a thing of the past now that he is playing on supposedly one of the better rosters in football.”

The Chiefs QB has an interception percentage of 3.2 this season, with 13 total turnovers (nine interceptions and four fumbles). He also has 18 passing touchdowns and one rushing TD. For those keeping track at home, that’s 1.86 turnovers per game.

That interception rate is tied for the seventh-worst in the NFL with Sam Darnold, and the only non-rookie QBs with a higher percentage are Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow (two second-year players).

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Disproving the Theory

To humor this argument, let’s compare those numbers to Winston during his time in Tampa. The former Heisman Trophy winner played five seasons for the Bucs and here were his turnover ratios for all of them.

  • 2015: 22 TDs, 15 INTs, 6 fumbles, 2.8 INT%, 1.31 turnovers per game (TPG).
  • 2016: 28 TDs, 18 INTs, 10 fumbles, 3.2 INT%, 1.75 TPG.
  • 2017: 19 TDs, 11 INTs, 15 fumbles, 2.5 INT%, 2.00 TPG.
  • 2018: 19 TDs, 14 INTs, 7 fumbles, 3.7 INT%, 1.91 TPG.
  • 2019: 33 TDs, 30 INTs, 12 fumbles, 4.8 INT%, 2.63 TPG.

Mahomes’ interception percentage does match Winston’s third-lowest mark, but the 1.86 turnovers per game are only greater than the formers Bucs’ first two seasons in the league. Considering this is the worst that the Kansas City star has ever played, you should compare it to Winston’s bottom of 4.8 and 2.63.

Once you do that, the entire theory becomes downright preposterous. Mahomes has won back-to-back AFC title games, a Super Bowl MVP and the AFC West division every year since taking over the starting job. Unless this turnover trend continues for a few seasons, he’s not turning into Winston anytime soon.

The rest of the explanation from Buhler seemed to pump up the Florida State product, rather than insult the Chiefs signal-caller. “Winston gets a bad rap,” he wrote, “he won a national title and a Heisman Trophy at Florida State. The Seminoles have been dog food since he left Tallahassee.”

Buhler added: “Though Mahomes is more gifted of a playmaker than Winston, they do share similar weaknesses. Undoubtedly, Mahomes went to the picturesque situation out of college in Kansas City, but we all knew that the Chiefs were not going to be an absolute buzz saw for the rest of time.”

Yes, Mahomes inherited Andy Reid, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill among others, but he became famous because of his jaw-dropping throws and impossible arm-angles. The Chiefs QB is likely pressing behind a porous defense, causing the first major slump of his career.

Let’s see if anybody remembers any of these outrageous takes in two years — let alone two months.


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Luke James
Luke James
1 year ago

Look, I’m 100% with the crowd saying the Chiefs miss the playoffs. It wouldn’t blow my mind if they never won another game this season. They have the worst defense in the league, and a sputtering offense that can’t play more than two good quarters a game (which against crap teams was enough). However, having watched every game, three of those interceptions were Mahomes getting sacked and (inadvisably) tossing it up for grabs rather than take the loss, and almost all of the rest were the receivers not only failing to make the catch, but they popped it up for anyone to grab. The biggest issue for the offense is their horrific WRs. They drop, they can’t get open, they don’t fight for the ball, rarely come down with it, they fumble, they go out of bounds in front of the marker, etc. etc. They’re just not the caliber of the rest of the NFL. Every opponent I watch, I see amazing grabs, I see incredible effort, I see WR3s and WR4s getting on highlight reels. For us, I see drops, or I see Kelce or Hill take it and turn it into something bigger. But even Hill has popped it up for two or three interceptions and Kelce has the occasional drop. Mahomes is having a tough go and making some bad choices, but he’s got two guys to throw to and if they aren’t open, he’s on his own. So yes, he’s not top of the pack this year, but he’s no bust by any stretch of the imagination.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown
1 year ago

Seems just a tad hyperbolic.

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