Patrick Mahomes Was Nearly Drafted by NFC Squad, Says NFL Exec

Getty Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes


here’s little doubt that, when looking back, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the best player at his position from the 2017 NFL Draft class. That’s why it’s mind-boggling to know Mahomes went 10th overall in that draft and was drafted behind Mitchell Trubisky (2nd overall), who is on his third NFL team in his sixth season in the league.

However, apparently, one NFC team was ready to draft Mahomes had he fallen a little bit farther down the draft board. That team was the Arizona Cardinals, who held the 13th overall pick.

Then-Cardinals head coach and now front office executive for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bruce Arians, detailed on August 31 how he fully intended to draft Mahomes 13th overall in 2017.

“Oh I thought for sure when we were in Arizona we were getting Patrick Mahomes,” Arians said on the Pardon My Take podcast. “As that draft was falling, I was like ‘He’s ours, it’s either him or Deshaun (Watson).’ But Pat, he’s right there — Kansas City doesn’t need a quarterback. They take him, and [I was like] ‘What? They got Alex Smith, [he] just went to the Pro Bowl!”

How Draft Picks Panned Out for All Parties

Despite the assumption that Mahomes would fall right into their laps, the Cardinals watched Mahomes go 10th overall and Deshaun Watson 12th overall to the Houston Texans. Arizona ended up selecting linebacker Hassan Reddick with the 13th overall pick. The Cardinals let Reddick take to free agency after his rookie contract expired in 2021, and he is now on his second NFL team since then.

Mahomes in that same time span has been a league MVP, Super Bowl champion and MVP, made 2 Super Bowl appearances, and has been a Pro Bowler four times.

Arians also explained why he wanted to draft Mahomes — who Arians had as his top QB in that draft class — which makes the outcome that much more brutal for the future Hall of Fame coach.

“I went out to Lubbock and worked him out personally, and skill-wise he is off the chart,” Arians explained of Mahomes. “But mentally, he was right there with Peyton (Manning), Andrew (Luck), and Tom (Brady), I mean, he’s like, sharp, I mean, just really sharp.”

Mahomes landed in an ideal spot with Andy Reid and his coaching staff in Kansas City. However, it would have been entertaining to see Mahomes play for Arians, who has been dubbed a “quarterback whisperer” during his time in the NFL.

Mahomes ‘Love’ Chiefs’ WR Breakout Candidate

With so many new faces on offense for the Chiefs in 2022, it was fun watching Mahomes gain chemistry with the team’s new pass-catchers during training camp and the preseason.

But now that Mahomes has had some live game reps with his new receivers — along with plenty of other meaningful reps during live drills in camp — who has he grown to like the most among his new receivers which include but are not limited to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, rookie Skyy Moore, and Justin Watson? NBC Sports’ Peter King might have given us that answer as the league transitions from the preseason to regular season action.

“I wrote a couple of weeks ago Smith-Schuster won’t be in the slot exclusively for KC, and he’s been revitalized because he thought he was typecast as a slot guy only with the Steelers. He loves Patrick Mahomes, and the feeling is mutual,” King wrote in his weekly Football Morning in America column on August 29.

King’s intel on Mahomes and JuJu’s relationship isn’t all that surprising. Mahomes lobbied for the Chiefs to sign JuJu this offseason, and the two of them connected during the offseason along with some of their other teammates to work out together. The Chiefs also gave JuJu a pay raise following the preseason, which is a good sign regarding how the organization feels about JuJu.

With that being said, it is promising that the two of them maintained a strong relationship after many long, hot days of Missouri summer at training camp. Especially since JuJu was injured and not practicing because of a knee injury following Week 1 of the preseason.

If Mahomes and JuJu can continue to build on the momentum they have going into the regular season, then we could be looking at one of the NFL’s next dynamic duos.