As any diehard sports fan can tell you, you’re never as optimistic as you are on NFL draft day. At that moment, anything can happen; even if your team doesn’t have a valuable pick, they can still strike gold and land a stud. The Kansas City Chiefs did just that in 2017 when they snagged quarterback Patrick Mahomes with the 10th overall pick.
While we know now that Mahomes is the real deal, nine NFL teams let him go on draft day. How did those clubs select instead of picking up the Texas Tech quarterback?
Setting the stage for the 2017 NFL draft
Normally, teams who make a big splash at the NFL draft are coming off a poor season. That wasn’t the case in 2017, though.
The Kansas City Chiefs finished the previous campaign 12-4, but they were far from an elite offensive squad. At the time, Alex Smith was under center; while he got his team into the postseason, he only threw for 15 touchdowns all season. The 2017 draft had some promising quarterback prospects, though, so the Chiefs thought it might be the perfect year to start looking to the future.
When draft day arrived, Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes looked like the top three quarterbacks available. Trubisky went second overall to the Chicago Bears, who traded up to get their man, and the draft settled into a lull. The Chiefs, however, saw their opportunity to strike. The club hammered out a deal with the Buffalo Bills, giving up their first and third-round picks, plus their first pick in 2018, to move up to the 10th spot. Once there, of course, they drafted Patrick Mahomes; analysts weren’t sure about the move, but the gamble paid off.
Which nine players were drafted before Patrick Mahomes in 2017?
As the cliche says, hindsight is always 20-20. There are plenty of NFL general managers who wish they could turn back the clock and get another crack at the 2017 NFL draft.
The Cleveland Browns had the first overall pick in 2017, and selected Myles Garrett; they were followed by the Bears and San Francisco 49ers, who picked Trubisky and Solomon Thomas, respectively. Jacksonville’s pick of Leonard Fournette and Tennessee’s selection of Corey Davis rounded out the top five.
The New York Jets selected Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick, and the Chargers snagged Mike Williams in the seventh spot. Christian McCaffrey went eighth, John Ross went ninth, and Patrick Mahomes went tenth.
While some of those picks turned out to be solid choices, Mahomes could help virtually all of those franchises. In the modern NFL, an elite quarterback can cover up plenty of problems; while it might seem smart to pick up a safety or defensive end, those players rarely make the impact of a star under center.
Picking Patrick Mahomes changed the course of Kansas City Chiefs history
While the Kansas City Chiefs have a rich history, that history is rife with disappointment. From missed field goals to a self-pass, the club has seemingly managed to lose in almost every way possible.
The Chiefs also infamously struggled to draft a capable quarterback; Patrick Mahomes, however, changed all of that. In his two full seasons under center, he’s given Kansas City hope. They’re within touching distance of the Lombardi Trophy and, even if they don’t win, anything is possible with Patrick Mahomes under center.
It’s somewhat cliche to say that a single decision on draft day can change the course of history. The Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, however, are proving that cliche to be true.