The San Francisco 49ers are just one win away from becoming Super Bowl champions after reaching Super Bowl 54 with a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. That has put star quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the spotlight for many reasons as he has the potential to become the face of the league for years to come.
Meanwhile, it has put more considerable attention on those teams that passed on him in the 2017 NFL Draft. Among those franchises were the 49ers, who head coach Kyle Shanahan has voiced why San Francisco elected not to take him with their third overall pick.
Patrick Mahomes’s rise to stardom
Despite sitting almost entirely his first full season in the league with the Chiefs, Mahomes took off in the 2018 campaign as he took the NFL by storm.
The Texas Tech product put forth a record-breaking year that saw him become the youngest player to win the MVP award. Mahomes joined Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as one of three players to throw for at least 50 touchdowns in a single season along with recording 5,097 passing yards and held a 113.6 passer rating.
Although he was hampered by injuries this season, Mahomes has continued to showcase that he could be arguably the best quarterback in the game with his production. He finished with 4,031 passing yards along with 26 touchdown passes to five interceptions and a 105.3 passer rating. Mahomes has also become the third player ever to win an MVP and make the Super Bowl in his first three seasons, joining Warner and Dan Marino.
Mahomes has become a bonafide star at the quarterback position in his short time in the NFL that has made him being taken 10th overall in his draft that much more puzzling.
Why the 49ers didn’t draft Patrick Mahomes
In the 2017 NFL Draft, the 49ers were positioned to have one of the top picks that year. San Francisco originally had the second overall pick but decided to trade down to third overall spot in a blockbuster trade with Chicago Bears.
Although they moved down a spot, the 49ers still had the opportunity to take a quarterback if wanted with Mahomes being on the board. Myles Garrett went first overall to the Cleveland Browns and Mitchell Trubisky after him to the Bears. San Francisco had a clear need at quarterback, but neglected to go that route as head coach Kyle Shanahan stated that the team didn’t look too much into taking as they didn’t believe he would go that high, according to Cam Inman of Mercury News.
“I didn’t look into [Mahomes], obviously, as much as I should have,” Shanahan said Tuesday, via Cam Inman of the Mercury News. “We definitely looked into him and studied his tape. He was a freak and could make any throw.”
“We had the second pick and based on the intel, it didn’t seem he would go that high. . . .With the situation we were in, we didn’t want to be that risky, with the second player in the draft.”
The 49ers did have a clear need at the position but elected to take former Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round. It was move that nobody would have completely batted an eye at, but the 49ers just didn’t have that high of a grade on Mahomes and took defensive end, Solomon Thomas, at that spot.
49ers’ future still bright
Although Solomon Thomas hasn’t panned out with the type of production expected from a high first-round pick, he is still an essential piece of the puzzle to their defensive line.
Yes, the 49ers missed out on possibly bringing a quarterback that could have change the culture with the franchise. At the same time, Mahomes landed in the right situation where he had his first year to learn behind a Pro Bowl quarterback in Alex Smith. That helped groom him and helped his progression along as a quarterback.
Meanwhile, the 49ers have a stable quarterback in place with Jimmy Garoppolo, who they acquired from the New England Patriots for just a second-round pick. There are those that question Garoppolo’s performance at times, but he has proven to be more than a capable quarterback that has helped guide the franchise back to the Super Bowl.
It’s a bit of revisionist history, but it has all worked out well for the 49ers, who are just a win away from being Super Bowl champions for the sixth time in franchise history.