Patrick Mahomes expected questions about his footwork, his mechanics, his inflated stats in the Air Raid offense and his ability to digest a playbook and read defenses. He did not expect this during interviews with teams at the NFL Scouting Combine: Do you consider yourself a cat or a dog?
“I chose dog,” the Texas Tech quarterback said. “I feel like I’ve got a fiery dog mentality on the field.”
Mahomes’ stock has risen since the end of the season, enough so that draft analysts expect him to go in the first round. He could climb even higher in the first round if he convinces NFL scouts he has the ability to quickly learn a pro-style offense.
NFL teams have drafted seven Texas-bred quarterbacks in the first round since 2006. The Red Raiders, though, have never had a quarterback selected in the first round. Their previous first-rounder at any position was receiver Michael Crabtree in 2009.
“It would definitely be awesome,” Mahomes said Friday. “That’s the dream. You want to be a first-round guy. But for me it’s all about going to the right team, the right organization. I just want to get coached really hard. I want to have every chance to go out there and prove my game every single day.”
Mahomes put up gaudy numbers last season, completing 66 percent of his passes for 5,052 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns. He averaged 49 attempts and 421 yards per game.
In 100 plays against Oklahoma, Mahomes threw for a single-game FBS-record 819 yards and seven touchdowns.
But the NFL waiver wire is littered with spread quarterbacks who put up big numbers in college using predetermined reads.
“He has got to retool himself to be an NFL quarterback,” said Gil Brandt, the Cowboys former player personnel director who now works for NFL.com. “Mahomes can be something special, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”
NFL teams, especially those in need of a quarterback, are intrigued. Mahomes looks the part at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, and he has the arm strength, mobility and accuracy needed to play in the NFL.
Mahomes also has the professional bloodlines with his father, Patrick Mahomes Sr., having pitched in 308 games for seven teams in 11 Major League Baseball seasons.
With a 95 mph fastball, Mahomes could have followed in his father’s footsteps. But his love for football prompted him to give up his baseball career a year ago.
“It’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Mahomes said. “It was something I really sold myself out to be a football player, and it’s really paid off well so far. I’m nowhere near the finish. I’m just at the beginning now. I have to go out there and prove I can be an NFL quarterback.”
Mahomes has worked on his footwork and his mechanics with personal quarterbacks coach Mike Sheppard at EXOS in Carlsbad, Calif. Mahomes promises to show he can digest an NFL playbook, call plays in a huddle, take snaps from under center and read defenses.
“There’s a lot that goes into playing the position, and Patrick Mahomes has a lot to prove in that respect,” CBS Sportsline draft analyst Dane Brugler said.
So far, Mahomes has delivered all the right answers.