NFL

Patrick Mahomes and the Trade That Changed the Course of NFL History

Patrick Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm since becoming the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. The ultra-talented gunslinger is already a league MVP and Super Bowl champion before the age of 25. However, he may never have experienced that level of success if not for a draft-day trade. As the crowned jewel of that maneuver, Mahomes changed the fates of two NFL franchises and the course of NFL history.

Patrick Mahomes wasn’t viewed as a can’t-miss prospect in the 2017 NFL draft

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The 2017 NFL draft featured a number of intriguing quarterback prospects. Though he’s become the face of the NFL, Patrick Mahomes had plenty of critics who questioned whether he could become a franchise quarterback. Some of that had to do with playing at Texas Tech. Though he put up huge numbers with the Red Raiders, their spread system which leads to hyper-inflated numbers.

On the other hand, Deshaun Watson threw for more than 10,000 yards at Clemson. The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist also won a national title by taking down Alabama. However, like Mahomes, Watson entered the draft with holes in his game. Detractors pointed out his 32 interceptions as a cause for concern.

Meanwhile, Mitchell Trubisky somehow earned first-round buzz despite an uninspiring career at the University of North Carolina. A one-year starter, he moved up some draft boards because of his intelligence and running ability. Trubisky scored a 25 on the Wonderlic test and ran a 4.67 40-yard dash at the combine.

The trade that changed the NFL forever

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Somehow, Mahomes wasn’t even the first quarterback selected in his own draft class. Instead, the Chicago Bears moved up one spot to take Trubisky with the second overall pick. That move obviously looks horrific in hindsight. Ryan Pace will never be forgiven for taking the former Tarheel.

Seven other teams passed over Mahomes before the Chiefs made a trade that altered the course of NFL history. Even though the Bills lacked a franchise quarterback, they parted ways with the 10th overall pick in exchange for the 27th overall pick, a 2017 third-rounder, and Kansas City’s first-round pick in 2018.

The price may have seemed steep at the time, but ultimately the Chiefs got a heck of a bargain. Moving up 17 spots allowed them to land the most physically gifted quarterback of all time. After spending a year learning from Alex Smith, Mahomes shattered everyone’s expectations in his first year as a starter. He won the 2018 NFL MVP award and led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship. Though his regular-season numbers slipped last season, Mahomes engineered three fourth-quarter touchdown drives to give Kansas City its first Super Bowl victory in 50 years.

The Bills passed over Mahomes to draft Josh Allen in 2018

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While Mahomes turned the Chiefs from a perennial playoff contender into world champions, his draft-day trade also had a major trickle-down effect on another franchise. The Bills did land a star in 2017 by snagging Tre’Davious White with the Chiefs’ original pick. However, they obviously passed over Mahomes by electing to trade down.

The Bills entered the 2018 NFL draft with the 12th overall pick after trading Cordy Glenn to the Cincinnati Bengals. They also had the 22nd overall pick thanks to the Mahomes trade. Buffalo traded the 12th pick and a pair of second-rounders to move up to the seventh spot to draft Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen. On paper, he checked all the boxes from a size and athleticism standpoint. But his poor college production and glaring lack of accuracy led many to question his fit at the next level. He still has time to change his career narrative, but to this point, his doubters have mostly been proven correct.

In 27 starts, the 6-foot-5, 237-pounder has completed just 56.3 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Buffalo did go 10-6 last season, but Allen flopped in his first postseason appearance. He completed 52.2 percent of his 46 attempts for 264 yards and failed to throw a touchdown. Ultimately, the Bills passed over a future league MVP for a player who may not be around much longer. Meanwhile, the Chiefs landed a once-in-a-lifetime superstar in Patrick Mahomes.

Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference