Why drafting Mahomes over Watson was the better decision for KC - KCTV5

Why drafting Mahomes over Watson was the better decision for KC

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Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II celebrates after Tech defeated Baylor in an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. Texas Tech won 54-35. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II celebrates after Tech defeated Baylor in an NCAA college football game Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. Texas Tech won 54-35. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
KANSAS CITY, MO (FOOTBALLKC) -

Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson will be compared to each other for the rest of their careers. Just as the case was with Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch vs. Donovan McNabb, Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III and Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz.

Just as Browns fans look back on what could have been with McNabb instead of Couch, Chiefs fans may one day look back on what could have been with Watson instead of Mahomes.

Watson was the safer pick, the bigger name, the more experienced player who performed well in big games in front of the entire country. Mahomes is just a 21-year old kid from a five-win team at Texas Tech.

The selection of Mahomes over Watson was a bold move, but at the end of the day, Mahomes is a better fit in Kansas City for a number of reasons. While Watson could very well end up being a successful starter in the NFL, the Chiefs took a chance on a quarterback with an All-Pro ceiling.

Development

Andy Reid, considered to be one of the NFL’s top quarterback coaches, just drafted a player with one of the most talented arms in recent draft history.

That alone should excite Chiefs fans, as Reid and general Manager John Dorsey have a very trustworthy track record with quarterbacks of all levels. McNabb and Aaron Rodgers were developmental projects, Michael Vick was a reclamation project and Nick Foles, Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn all reached new heights under Reid or Dorsey, before parting ways.

Reid and Dorsey know have proven they know what it takes to craft a winning team, and they felt Mahomes was good enough to not only draft in the first round, but trade up to get. There’s an element of trust that must be had, since the rewards won’t be there immediately.

Watson will be more ready to start week one, but the Chiefs view Mahomes as the better prospect down the road. As Dorsey stated before the draft, his staff puts in 60,000 man hours into making these draft decisions, and their scouts believe the Chiefs can develop Mahomes just as they’ve done many times before.

Timing

Mahomes would not be in Kansas City if the Chiefs did not have a stable quarterback already in place. Just as Rodgers was in 2005, Mahomes is a project. Just like with the Packers, the timing of the pick is perfect for the player and team.

Mahomes would most likely struggle if he were to start NFL games right away, and then you run the risk of hurting a player’s confidence long-term. Allowing developmental practice so that Reid can fix his flaws is crucial in Mahomes’ development.

If both were available in 2013 when Dorsey and Reid started in Kansas City, they may have drafted Watson since he could handle the pressure sooner. Instead, they opted for upside since time was on their side.

Smith’s strengths and deficiencies are a topic for another day, but his top-5 NFL win percentage since arriving in Kansas City is no fluke and shows he’s at least a capable quarterback in the league. Mahomes was drafted because he can take the team to new heights, but he won’t be the starter in 2017, because he can also take the team to new lows.

Rodgers sat on the bench in Green Bay for three years before taking over, and as long as Smith continues to lead the team to victories, it’s best for the team that he sits and develops. Because of this developmental time, it means that Mahomes can reach his potential more in Kansas City than most other places. Watson could have been very successful in KC as well, but when given multiple years to grow, Mahomes is the one much more likely to reach elite NFL status.

Fit

Mahomes’ style of play is everything the Chiefs need. In a pre-draft article Mahomes was described as the anti-Alex Smith, which is a compliment and a criticism. They key aspect is whether or not the deficiencies can be coached out of him.

Smith can be the smartest quarterback in the league, but on the two-point conversion in the playoffs, he can only throw the ball so hard, and so accurate, when trying to fit the ball into Jeremy Maclin’s tight end zone window.

The raw ability to make that throw can’t be coached into Smith. Mahomes already has that ability, it’s just a matter of learning when to make that throw. The good news for him, is that he has a great offense around him to not only learn from, but to help make up for his mistakes.

Smith will not make a number of throws because they’re too risky, and that approach has led the Chiefs to many wins. However, it also limits skill-position players, as instead of taking a chance and letting them make a play, he plays it safe. Mahomes will take those chances and Chiefs offensive weapons will have more opportunities to make bigger plays.

Maclin, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Chris Conley are four extremely talented weapons to utilize in the passing game, but since Smith’s ceiling is only so high, there’s becomes limited as well. With Mahomes, every throw is a possibility and the Chiefs have a perfect offensive lineup and scheme to utilize that.

He will be coached into running the offense and making the slants, flats and screen throws that Smith excels on, but he can bring another layer. Just as Vick needed a speedster like Desean Jackson to push Reid’s Eagle offense to new heights, the Chiefs wide outs need Mahomes to do the same. The west coast offense is at its best when there’s an over the top option to throw to, as it opens up the underneath routes, and Mahomes has the ability to utilize these options way more than Smith or Watson every could.

Potential

Many fans may view this as a knock on Watson, but he could be the NFL’s next Alex Smith. That means a winning quarterback that has a 10+ year career, but fans also know it means a limited offense.

Watson at his best could reach McNabb level success, although McNabb never did win a ring. If Watson never learns to read to NFL defenses, tighten up the accuracy and go through necessary progressions, he could be out of the league just as soon as Mahomes.

The comparisons are more wide-reaching for Mahomes, as unfortunately for him, there hasn’t been a QB to come from the air-raid style offense and have a successful NFL career. There’s also been a line of quarterbacks, headlined by bust Jamarcus Russell, who have flopped in the NFL despite having a cannon of an arm.

Reid and Dorsey are unlikely to miss that bad, but there is a chance that he has a career similar of Jay Cutler. Both have strong arms and can make any throw, but both have had decision issues in their career. Most fans would take Smith over Cutler, and if neither bust or break out, this could be a reality down the road.

Then the ultimate comparison, the name who Dorsey mentioned after the pick was made but still said he wasn’t comparing the two, is Brett Favre. All the same criticism’s for Favre coming out of school Mahomes has, as both play the game with little to no fear.

Reid coached Favre in Green Bay and if anyone can harness Mahomes’ potential the way that Favre did, it’s Reid. Watson doesn’t have this ceiling and it’s why even though the pick may be a bust, the Chiefs should be commended for taking a chance. Very few teams in the NFL can win without an elite level quarterback, and Mahomes has a greater chance of reaching that status than Watson.

The two will be compared for the rest of their careers, but even if Mahomes doesn’t pan out, the Chiefs took a chance on the most talented quarterback in the draft for the first time in 34 years.

You have to take chances in the NFL to win it all, and the Chiefs did just that with one of the biggest gambles in franchise history. 

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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