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Big Arm A Start For Patrick Mahomes

Texas Tech quarterback has to find more consistency within an offense on NFL level


Quarterback Patrick Mahomes takes part in the Scouting combine in February.

Patrick Mahomes knows he's been labeled a gunslinger as a quarterback, which carries with it both positive and negative connotations.

He threw a ton of passes at Texas Tech and "I've done a lot of stuff scrambling outside the pocket," he said. His arm strength is unparalleled. But packaged with the spread offense Mahomes played in college, he may be the toughest NFL QB evaluation as he heads into the draft.

The tools must translate, and there figures to be a steep learning curve with Mahomes when he enters the league.

"You look back at the system quarterbacks, a lot of guys didn't work out," Mahomes acknowledged. "For me, it's going to be about proving those guys wrong."

Whether Mahomes can slip into the first round or if he perhaps falls far enough for the Cardinals to consider him in the second round at No. 45 overall will be an interesting sidebar to the draft. If the Cards take a quarterback, he will sit behind Carson Palmer for at least a season and there is little doubt he is a player who could use the time to ramp up.

In 12 games as a junior, Mahomes threw for 5,502 yards, 41 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. The statistics were unquestionably gaudy. His team's record was less so – the Red Raiders went 5-7 – although the defense gave up so many points (43.5 a game) Mahomes was all but forced to keep up with the constant throwing.

It made for plenty of highlights, but it was also a big sample size to show what Mahomes still must learn.

"You could do a cut up of 15 to 20 throws, you'll see him almost identical to a Matt Stafford-type flow throw, off

platform, off balance, ridiculous arm strength, put the ball right where he wants to put it," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "Along with that excitement to his play, you have the irresponsibility of his play.

"When you look for the things that you like about him, if you charted his best plays, they have nothing to do with the play call. It's just him freelancing and making things happen, which is exciting, but I look back on quarterbacks over the years, try and find guys that live and thrive outside of the play call, it's a very thin list."

Jeremiah compared Mahomes in some ways to Brett Favre and Favre's off-the-cuff style – which can work when you are a veteran who has proven himself, and less so when you are first reaching the NFL.

Mahomes believes his ability to extend plays makes him a good fit for today's NFL. His mechanics need work. The son of a former Major League Baseball pitcher, he once was a baseball prospect who is still trying to flush some baseball-type movements out of his throwing motion. That is a workout focus as he moves into the draft.

"I'll always have that (gunslinger mentality)," Mahomes said. "Now it's going to be about using it at the right time."

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