Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on the sidelines at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
John Dorsey and Andy Reid spent time in their development as an NFL scout and coach, respectively, with the Green Bay Packers under the influence of Pro Football Hall of Fame personnel man Ron Wolf.
Thursday evening in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs' general manager and coach relied on the wisdom learned from Wolf, when they went for the big personnel bomb and traded first-round choices in 2017 and 2018 so they could select Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs moved from No. 27 in the round to No. 10, making a deal with the Buffalo Bills that included the two first-rounders, plus a third-round slot (No. 91) in this year's draft.
It was an expensive move for Dorsey and Reid, but the words of Wolf rang in their heads.
"Ron Wolf told me a long time ago that if you have one of those guys you like, go get him, attack it," Reid said. "That's what Dorse did. ... That's how we felt about Patrick.
"Everybody liked this guy; we couldn't find anybody that didn't like him. ... We couldn't find a lot of red flags on this kid. (Scout) Willie Davis did a good job of scouting him. We got to know the kid before we got to know the kid. Everybody fell in love with him and what he's all about; that doesn't happen every year. When that happens, you go get him."
But there's no doubt in Reid's mind that Mahomes is not ready to play the position in the NFL and will benefit from working behind veteran quarterback Alex Smith.
"Right now Patrick's not absolutely ready to play," Reid said. "He's got some work to do. He's got an opportunity to learn from Alex Smith, which will be a phenomenal experience for him, and learn the offense. He's not a finished product but has tremendous upside. We think he'll fit into this offense. It's a clean canvas and something we can really work on and work with.
"Alex is the starting quarterback; nothing is going to change there. This kid is coming in to learn, and it's going to take some time. We understand that. Alex understands that; he's been around this game for a long time. He gets it. There's going to be a day when Alex isn't playing anymore, and somebody will have to step in and go. We feel this kid with some growth can step in and do that."
Mahomes was the highest-rated quarterback on the Chiefs' draft board Thursday night. Once Chicago jumped one slot so they could select Mitchell Trubisky out of North Carolina with the second choice of the round, the Chiefs knew they had to improve their position in the round to have any shot for the man they wanted.
They ending up making the expensive deal with the Bills, fighting off New Orleans and Arizona, who were trying to move up to No. 10 to grab a quarterback.
"There were a couple other teams that were trying to get him. There was some tension in the room," Reid said. "It wasn't one of those deals where we had half the room liked him and half didn't. Everybody was in on this kid and everybody was fired up."
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Texas native left the Chiefs' hierarchy impressed throughout his 2016 season at Texas Tech, when he threw for 5,052 yards, with 41 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions. That warm and fuzzy feeling continued through the run-up to the draft, including his visit to Kansas City during which Mahomes spent six hours being questioned by Reid and his offensive coaching staff.
"We brought him in and grilled him," Reid said. "We had six quarterbacks in here and we go for six hours and try to bury them. ... We throw the kitchen sink at them and see what they can process and what they can spit out.
"The things he does well: first, he's smart and that helps; then there's his ability to move in the pocket. Seldom do you have a perfect pocket that you are sitting in in the National Football League. You've got to be able to move and still throw with velocity, and we thought he did that well. Tremendous vision and tremendous upside. It's a real nice pick for us."
Over his three seasons in Lubbock, Mahomes played in 32 games, with 29 starts, and threw for 11,252 yards, 93 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. That plus-64 difference definitely caught the Chiefs' attention, as did his career 63.5 completion percentage.
Mahomes becomes the first quarterback selected by the Chiefs in the first round since 1983, when they picked Todd Blackledge at No. 7 as the second quarterback taken in that legendary draft with six first-round passers. Three went to the Hall of Fame: John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.