NFL News

Patrick Mahomes rightly defends the quarterback draft class of 2017

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes called out naysayers against the QB draft class of 2017 and he’s absolutely right.

When it comes to the NFL Draft, there’s no sure thing. Every prospect comes with questions to address, techniques to improve, and frustrating game tape for which he must answer. This is especially true of the game’s most important position.

Two years ago, the questions rang especially loud. The quarterback class of 2017 was widely derided, void of any sure thing. The entire class was chastised for lack of overall talent, and even those considered top prospects came with serious concerns. For needy teams at the time, it was a nightmare scenario—being forced to buy groceries when the blizzard’s been well-reported.

Two weeks ago, three quarterbacks stood together to take a picture at the NFL’s most recent Pro Bowl, the league’s all-star exhibition to showcase the best and brightest performers at each position. For Patrick Mahomes, Mitchell Trubisky, and Deshaun Watson, it was the culmination of an impressive season, a year in which each quarterback took another leap in his development.

One post from Patrick Mahomes, however, made it clear it was more than just a personal achievement. It was a personal moment to savor.

Mahomes’s two-year-old memories are crystal clear. It’s not hard to find such negative echoes in a digital era. These weren’t independent or unknown voices criticizing the group at large. Consider this from Lance Zierlein written at the NFL’s offcial site: “There has been plenty of negative publicity about this season’s quarterback class … It’s not a great class, but it has potential.”

Steven Ruiz penned this apt summation at USA Today:

You’ve heard it all offseason: The 2017 NFL draft class is not particularly impressive when it comes to the quarterback position. It’s true there isn’t a mega prospect at the top of the draft, but don’t be surprised if this class of passers ends up easily exceeding its low expectations.

That’s akin to your friend who is fine with his car or truck because “at least it gets me from here to there.” Fortunately for the quarterbacks involved, at least at the top, the insiders failed to act accordingly.

For those whose very jobs were/are on the line based on the performances of these early draft picks, the quarterbacks were good enough to grab early. In fact, each and every team traded up for the chance to get their man.

Ryan Pace wanted Trubisky enough to flip two third round picks and an extra fourth to move up one spot to secure him for the Chicago Bears. John Dorsey and the Kansas City Chiefs threw the Buffalo Bills an extra first round choice to jump 17 spots to No. 10 overall to select Mahomes The Houston Texans gave the Cleveland Browns their 2018 first rounder to move up 13 spots to No. 12 to grab Watson.

Two years later, each quarterback made the Pro Bowl and enjoyed a nice snapshot together, a photogenic “screw you” to the draft’s naysayers. Lets take a closer look at what was said about each and the actual results.

MITCHELL TRUBISKY

Trubisky came into the league as a man who looked the part at the University of North Carolina, but the main concern was that he was a one-year wonder without enough starting experience to accurately evaluate.

The Negative Press

“Why give up so much to get this guy? It makes no sense. Is he Tom Brady all of the sudden? Bad move.”

“Trubisky may very well develop into a solid starter one day. He’s not a franchise-changing player, though, and that’s what you expect from a second-overall pick. The Bears passed up on a lot of defensive talent to take him, too.”

“Trubisky may be a one- or two-year project, especially given the paucity of offensive weapons on the roster.”

The Results So Far

An abysmal roster led to a frustrating first year with no defensive help and little offensive hope, but Ryan Pace’s continued good work has the Bears as the class of the AFC North and Trubisky’s best days ahead.

PATRICK MAHOMES

Mahomes was this class’s high-risk, high-reward player who earned significant praise for his arm strength, creativity and confidence. He also endured significant criticism for his readiness—namely that he was unlikely to make the transition from Air Raid system to the NFL.

The Negative Press

“Calling Mahomes a project is a major understatement. He’s nowhere near ready to play in the NFL. And, honestly, he may never be. Between his inconsistent accuracy due to poor mechanics, his tendency to bail from clean pockets and his lack of field vision, he’s going to leave as many big plays on the field as he creates. This was a risky pick.”

“He has good size, tremendous confidence and a blue-chip arm, but his footwork and mechanics are a dumpster fire on tape and his penchant for improvising outside of the offense will drive coaches crazy.”

“Mahomes has to prove he can overcome bad habits mechanically and the stigma of being an Air Raid quarterback.”

The Results So Far

How about an MVP in his first year as a starter? The Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders for as long as Mahomes is healthy and looking even half as good as he did in 2018 when he turned in one of the single best years by any quarterback in NFL history.

DESHAUN WATSON

Watson was the household name coming into the draft thanks to his national title heroics at Clemson, but it was also clear that his penchant for turnovers was going to be something to address at the next level.

The Negative Press

“I’m not so sure Watson will ever develop into a top QB, but he’ll be an improvement over what they’ve had in Houston the last few years. That’s not saying a whole lot.”

“If he learns to read coverages and cuts down on the interceptions (those issues are related), he has a future in the NFL.”

“He is coming off of incredible back-to-back performances in national championship games against Alabama, but his troubling turnover totals are hard to ignore.”

The Results So Far

Watson was a rookie revelation before tearing his ACL in 2017 with 19 passing touchdowns in only six starts and a clear ability to rise and match the play of any opponent. This year, he threw for 26 touchdowns and only nine interceptions and showed the kind of moxie that could make the Texans into annual favorites in the AFC South.

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