March 29 (UPI) -- Could the next franchise quarterback be right under our noses for the 2017 NFL Draft?
Mahomes is slowly starting to rise up draft boards. Once projected as a second round selection by some analysts, he has now risen into the first round in multiple mock drafts. The 6-foot, 2-inch and 225-pound talent is the son of a former major league pitcher. Despite the strong pedigree, he still gets labeled as a system quarterback due to his presence in a spread offense.
"I just show them my knowledge for the game, that's the only way I can prove it wrong," Mahomes recently told Sports Illustrated. "You look back at the system quarterback [history], a lot of guys didn't work out. So for me, it's just going to be about proving those guys wrong, going out there and really showing my knowledge of the game and just competing. It'll all show up when you get to the field."
He threw for 4,619 yards and 50 touchdowns as a high school senior and started the Red Raiders' final four games during his freshman season. He threw for 1,547 yards, 16 touchdowns, and four interceptions in those contests. During his sophomore campaign, he led FBS with 393 yards of total offense per game. He led the FBS with 421 passing yards per game during his final season, passing for 5,052 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also scored 22 rushing touchdowns during his three seasons for the Red Raiders.
According to Mahomes' scouting report on NFL.com, his strengths include having an NFL body type for work inside and outside of the pocket. He also has improved accuracy and an "undeniable swagger and confidence in his game." His weaknesses include an inconsistent approach and being "too eager to go big game hunting."
"He is rising rapidly in draft evaluation," Steinberg said. "I think the more people look at him, the more they realize that he has the potential to be a franchise quarterback. He has the strongest arm in the draft. He is coming from an athletic background with a father who pitched 12 years in the major leagues.
"His godfather LaTroy Hawkins, who he is very close to, pitched for 20 years. He grew up in an athletic background. He has a gun for an arm."
"For the most part it [arm strength] helps me out," Mahomes told ESPN's Gruden's QB Camp. "Sometimes it gets me in trouble, but at the same time I just have confidence that I can make every throw...you've seen guys like Aaron Rogers and Ben Roethlisberger, guys that will make the throws. They are tight windows, but they are making them and that's how they win games."
Mahomes was actually selected in the 37th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
In June a video surfaced of Mahomes throwing a football 65 yards while on his knees.
"He is smart and is a fiery leader and I think he is going to be a strong first round draft pick," Steinberg said.
Mahomes, 21, has said that he models himself after Rodgers. He watched every game Rogers played when he was in college. His agent agrees with the comparison to the two-time MVP and Super Bowl champion.
"I represented the first half of Ben Roethlisberger's career, until he had the problem we talked about," Steinberg said. "I think he has some Roethlisberger in him because he has that strong arm and the ability to get outside the pocket. I don't represent Aaron Rodgers, but he has a little bit of him in the ability to extend the play so that he can get outside the pocket, timed passes and at the very last moment, he can get the pass off downfield. He is 6-3 and can run a little bit like a running back."
"The question for any quarterback out of the spread is can they adjust to the 3-5-7 step drop and pick it up all under center. We are in the ironic situation now that the offense that is played in the majority of schools now is the spread, air raid, or something other than the pro set and so whether you are Marcus Mariota or Jared Goff or Paxton Lynch, this comes up every year. Once they actually look at his skillset, they will realize that he has terrific adaptability and it won't be a long adjustment process, any longer than it is in general, to adjust to a game that is much faster and complex."
Mahomes has worked out for the Cleveland Browns, Las Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, and also met with the San Francisco 49ers. He has drawn additional comparisons to John Elway, Colin Kaepernick, and Brett Favre.