The Cleveland Browns can go in multiple directions when it comes to the 2017 NFL Draft. Perhaps it is time to start thinking of Patrick Mahomes as the answer at quarterback.
With just a little more than a week to go until the 2017 NFL Draft, there is plenty of speculation, rumors and debates about what the Cleveland Browns will (or should) do during draft weekend.
Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is as close to a lock as any non-quarterback can be as the No. 1 overall selection, putting the major spotlight on Cleveland’s second pick in the first round, which is currently at No. 12.
Several draft analysts have decided that if the Browns decide to address the ongoing quarterback issue with this pick, they will select North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, despite the red flags that surround a player who only made 13 starts at the college level.
But if the Browns are serious about fixing the quarterback mess, it may be time for them to take a very hard look at Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.
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A two-year starter for the Red Raiders, Mahomes threw for more than 11,000 yards and 93 touchdowns (and adding 22 rushing touchdowns) while completing almost 64 percent of his passes. And at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Mahomes has the size for the NFL game.
The biggest argument against Mahomes is that he played in the Air Raid offense at Texas Tech, a system that has only produced one viable NFL quarterback – Tim Couch. While highly prolific, the drawback to the system is that quarterbacks generally don’t have to do much other than take the snap and throw the ball. (That’s an over-simplication, but you get the point.)
It turns out, however, that Mahomes may very well be the exception.
Bleacher Report’s Doug Farrar profiled Mahomes this week and pointed out that Texas Tech’s system is more than just a game of pitch and catch:
"If you dig into Texas Tech’s offense, you’ll see play action, multi-route concepts, quarterbacks hitting their third and fourth reads in stride, running back motion, quarterback audibles—many of the things you see in the NFL every Sunday."
"While Mahomes did receive the plays from the sideline, he said it was his job to get to the line of scrimmage, call the protections to the offensive line, signal the routes to the receivers on either side and audible if the defense was showing something different. A huddle shouldn’t be a major concern, and given the percentage of no-huddle in the NFL these days, it’s less an issue than it would have been a decade ago. Mahomes also said it took 15 days of installation for everyone on the offense to be aligned with all of Kingsbury’s passing concepts."
Sounds like Mahomes is not your average Big 12 quarterback.
One aspect working in Cleveland’s advantage when it comes to Mahomes – or any of the available quarterbacks – is head coach Hue Jackson, who was brought to town with the reputation of being a quarterback guru. If anyone can build an offense around the strengths of Mahomes, while also minimizing his flaws, it would seem to be Jackson.
The Browns are also in a situation, or at least should be, where they don’t have to draft a quarterback for opening day of the 2017 season. It may be hard to accept, but the Browns can live with a year of Cody Kessler and (potentially) Brock Osweiler running the show if it means that Mahomes can be their quarterback for the next decade.
After so many misses over the years on quarterbacks, the Browns are overdue for a little bit of luck at the position.
Taking a gamble on Mahomes and giving everyone involved the time to make it work, could prove to be the biggest payoff the Browns have seen since the mid-1980s.