In the days and weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, CardinalsSource will profile 30 draft prospects who could end up making their way to Arizona this offseason.
Player: Patrick Mahomes
Weight: 225 pounds
Arm length: 33 1/4 inches
Hand size: 9 1/4 inches
College stats: 2014: 105-for-185, 56.8 completion percentage, 1,547 yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, 2015: 364-for-573, 63.5 completion percentage, 4,653 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 2016: 388-for-591, 65.7 completion percentage, 5,052 yards, 41 touchdowns, 10 interceptions.
Strengths: When you turn on Mahomes' tape, you can't help but notice the similarities to former Green Bay Packers' quarterback Brett Favre. Mahomes is a gunslinger and he's got more trust in his arm than any other quarterback in this year's draft class. The good news? Mahomes has more than enough reason to trust in his arm, as he's got fantastic arm talent, an impressive ability to whip the ball across the field and a penchant for big plays. Aside from his arm, though, Mahomes was successful at Texas Tech because of what he was able to do with his feet. Mahomes doesn't scramble to run, he scrambles to throw, and with NFL-caliber talent surrounding him, the possibilities are endless if he's able to be as elusive at the next level as he was in college. Mahomes' natural feel for the pocket is tremendous, and he has an uncanny ability to spin out of tackles, set his feet, and fire the ball exactly where he wants to go with it. There's no quarterback with as much intriguing raw potential as Mahomes in this class, and with his size and body type, there will be more than a handful of NFL coaches who will be chomping at the bit to work with him next year.
Weaknesses: Even though Mahomes threw 41 touchdowns compared to just 10 interceptions as a junior and even though he has an arm NFL scouts dream about, he's still a project. Mahomes has mechanical weaknesses with his throwing motion that will need to be corrected, he doesn't have prototypical footwork, and he has no experience running an offense featuring pro-style concepts. The most successful quarterback in NFL history who ran the Air Raid offense in college might be Tim Couch, and that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Though the style of offense Mahomes operated was no fault of his own, it's going to raise serious questions about how he'll adjust to taking snaps under center, going through progressions and reads, and adjusting his brain to process the complex looks NFL defenses will throw at him. Even though Mahomes cut down on his turnovers as a junior, it wouldn't come as a huge surprise if he became interception or fumble prone early in his NFL career, because adjusting his mechanics coupled with his natural tendency to try to be a hero when plays break down could wind up making his adjustment rougher than anticipated.
Mahomes' fit: Even in a draft class that includes more classic pro-style passers like North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky or Notre Dame's Deshaun Watson, we think Mahomes is the type of project Arizona Cardinals' head coach Bruce Arians might be willing to take on because of all the potential Mahomes possesses and because of the style of offense the Cardinals run. Arizona likes to take shots, and so does Mahomes, who would have made a living doing so at the college level if the NCAA allowed players to be paid. Mahomes demonstrates excellent command for his offensive unit, is a leader on the field, and is a natural athlete who could have also pursued a professional baseball career if he was driven to do so. Instead, Mahomes wanted to become an NFL quarterback, and though Arians would likely spend his rookie season crushing Mahomes for his delivery and throwing motion, this is the type of coach-and-quarterback relationship that would fascinate folks around the NFL. Is Mahomes ever going to develop into a high-quality starter? It's far too early to say that. But with all of the tools Mahomes possesses including his seemingly innate feel for running an offense, there's a reason many folks think the Cardinals would strongly consider tabbing Mahomes as their potential quarterback of the future.