Patrick Mahomes was the 10th overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2017 NFL Draft, and was the second QB drafted overall.
The 9 players drafted ahead of him vary from successful to bust and with hindsight being 20/20, it’s fun to go back and see which teams would truly be better off with Mahomes and which teams are still in a strong position based on the subsequent drafts and roster moves.
1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett
Mahomes is great. Maybe even the greatest. But passing on a QB in 2017, set the Browns up with Garrett and allowed them to draft Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward in the top 4 picks of the 2018 Draft. At least those three have the potential to do something special in Cleveland. What use would Mahomes have served in Cleveland, if the Browns defense had no talent. Based on how Cleveland cycles through coaches and front office personnel, let’s just be thankful this worked out the way it did.
2. Chicago Bears – Mitchell Trubisky
Imagine Mahomes at QB with that 2018 historic defense? Yeah, there’s no convincing me that the Bears wouldn’t have beaten the Saints and Rams to go to the Super Bowl last year.
3. San Francisco 49ers – Solomon Thomas
This is a fun one, simply because of how it worked out in hindsight. Thomas isn’t very good, but the 49ers ended up trading for Jimmy Garappolo halfway through the 2017 season. Garappolo’s torn ACL in 2018, led to them drafting Nick Bosa in 2019. I guess we’ll see how well hindsight worked in Super Bowl LIV, if the 49ers are indeed better off with the duo of Jimmy G and Bosa.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette
This one hurts. Fournette is a good running back, but in the last three years they have started, mostly, Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, and Gardner Minshew at QB. And now they probably need another QB, while Fournette is due for a new contract.
5. Tennessee Titans – Corey Davis
Corey Davis has been extremely underwhelming, but part of that is poor QB play. Ryan Tannehill came on strong in the second half of 2019, but probably isn’t the long term answer, like Mahomes would have been. Imagine a team with Mahomes and Derrick Henry? Just give them all of the Lombardi Trophies.
6. New York Jets – Jamal Adams
Adams has developed into one of the top safeties in football and by passing on a QB in 2017, it positioned them to draft Sam Darnold in 2018. I like Darnold and believe he has a ton of potential, meaning the duo of Darnold and Adams (plus 2019 #3 pick Quinnen Williams) “could” be worth the sacrifice of Mahomes one day.
7. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike Williams
Mike Williams has had a good couple of years in 2018 and 2019, but the Chargers are in need of a QB for 2020 and beyond. Plus, they have Keenan Allen which makes the need for Williams less pressing. The most painful thing about passing on Mahomes is they have the pleasure of facing Mahomes two times a year, every year, until he retires. Lucky them.
8. Carolina Panthers – Christian McCaffery
Moving forward, Carolina is likely going to be in the QB market, but at the time, Cam Newton was still very much in his prime. Plus, while many people don’t value running backs, Christian McCaffery is one of the best in the game.
9. Cincinnati Bengals – John Ross
Ross has 49 catches in three years and has started in just 19 games. If you want to consider that the Bengals are now positioned to draft Joe Burrow, that’s fine. But Ross was a completely awful pick and they have stunk for the last two years. Mahomes would have brought some serious excitement to a team in desperate need of a spark.
10. Buffalo Bills – Trade
Buffalo originally owned the #10 pick, but moved down to allow the Chiefs to grab Mahomes. They acquired two first round picks which turned into CB Tre’Davious White and LB Tremaine Edmunds. Bills also drafted Josh Allen with a first round pick in 2018 and made the playoffs this past season, so things are at least going well in Buffalo.