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A two-year starter at Texas Tech, Mahomes thrived in the Red Raiders' up-tempo, spread passing attack and became just the second player in FBS history to account for 5,000+ yards of total offense twice in a career, joining Houston's Case Keenum, who was also a pupil of Kingsbury. With Baker Mayfield transferring to Oklahoma, Mahomes became the Red Raiders back-up as a true freshman, but once Davis Webb was sidelined due to injuries, he was pressed into action, starting the final four games of 2014. Mahomes performed well and head coach Kliff Kingsbury decided to stick with him over Webb as the starter going into 2015 (Webb transferred to Cal after the 2015 season). As a sophomore, he completed 63.5% of his passes for 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. Mahomes had his most productive season as a junior in 2016 (12 starts) with 388 completions, 65.7% completions, 5,052 passing yards and a 41-10 touchdown-interception ratio, adding 12 scores on the ground to earn Second Team All-Big 12 honors.
Mahomes, who didn't start at quarterback until his junior season in high school, is a free thrower and looks like he is playing backyard football, relying more on timing and feel rather than mechanics or structure. He has above average arm strength with the creative mobility and growth potential for the NFL level, but was groomed in one of the most quarterback-friendly systems in college football and is inexperienced reading defenses, working through progressions and delivering concepts in the huddle. Although he is nowhere near ready for NFL snaps, Mahomes is an exciting player to watch compete and boasts the raw traits that are worth developing.
STRENGTHS: Moldable frame with adequate height and room to fill out. Above-average arm strength to sling the ball all over the field. Unforced velocity and can deliver from different arm angles without losing RPMs. Fleet of foot athlete with nimble start/stop quickness to make defenders miss. Routinely throws from various platforms. Keeps his eyes elevated to reset and deliver on the run. Comfortable ball handler and improvises well to buy time. Quick set up, release and wrist snap to get the ball out. Delivers very catchable throws with touch and placement. Improved field vision to spread the wealth. Athletic bloodlines - father (Pat) pitched for 11 seasons in MLB. Team captain as a junior with resilient leadership. High pain threshold and plays through injuries. Highly productive and leaves Lubbock with numerous single game, single season and career records, including the NCAA record for total offense in a game (819 yards, 2016 vs. Oklahoma).
WEAKNESSES: Messy mechanics, footwork and body motion and his technique needs rebuilt from the ground up. Drifts in the pocket and throws with an unbalanced base. Narrow, irregular steps in his drops. Holds the ball too long in the pocket with undeveloped pocket awareness, not feeling pressure round him. Indecisive reads and doesn't always trust his eyes or anticipation. Careless with the football and makes too many throws that should never leave his hand - ball security needs buttoned up with six fumbles in 2016. Quick-footed athlete, but not a dynamic rush threat. Baseball was his first love - drafted in the 37th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers and considered signing. Tends to brace for contact as a runner instead of finishing forward. Lacks ideal body armor and battled through several injuries the past two seasons - sprained the MCL in his left knee (Sept. 2015) that required a brace; multiple shoulder injuries, including an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder (Sept. 2016); injured his left wrist and required surgery (Dec. 2016).