The 10 teams who could have drafted Patrick Mahomes (if they did)

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

How would life have turned out for the 10 teams that passed over Patrick Mahomes? Let’s look at some alternate realities around the NFL.

Ten teams passed on drafting Patrick Mahomes. Those ten teams’ fan bases can rationalize that decision until the day the universe collapses in upon itself, but it will never change that they passed on perhaps the single greatest quarterback talent in the history of recorded time. But what if they didn’t pass on Mahomes?

First we should look at where the Chiefs would be (Oh, no).

If K.C. was unable to nab Mahomes, it’s very possible, if not entirely likely, Alex Smith would still be the Chiefs’ quarterback. It took the once-in-a-millennium talent of Mahomes to pry Andy Reid away from his love of Smith and his giant brain, after all.

Reid adored Smith’s ability to absorb anything Reid threw at him and reproduce it exactly as designed. Reid’s willingness to move on from Smith wasn’t because of a deficiency in the cerebral part of the game. In fact, just the opposite; if anything Smith was too in his head and too calculated. When the play design broke down, so did Smith. It’s why an offense with obscene talent in 2017 would score 42 against the Patriots, then in back-to-back weeks score only 9 and 10 against the Giants and Bills. Remember when the Chiefs didn’t score 5,000 points a game? Me neither.

This cycle would likely continue into 2018, ending in yet another one-and-done playoff trip. Despite that, the Chiefs would likely have extended Smith and forged ahead. But without the excitement of a ceiling-free future with Mahomes, Reid would find his seat warming up a bit, as his full-blown offense-of-the-future would never have seen the light of day.


This would be interesting on multiple levels. The Browns get their franchise guy one year early, but I think Mahomes might be too great for his own good here, with his play actually saving the jobs of Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown. Mahomes wouldn’t get sucked into the same bottomless pit all the other would-be Browns franchise quarterbacks have, but it’s difficult to imagine the pre-John Dorsey regime building around Mahomes competently. Mahomes on the 2017 Browns peak at just barely good enough to make the playoffs every year. So they’re exactly what the Chiefs have been for multiple stretches of the last 25 years.


Trading up for Mitchell “Check out my Matt Cassel impression” Trubisky wasn’t the move, I think we can all agree. So let’s flip that pick to Mahomes. If we assume Matt Nagy still ends up in Chicago after 2017, it’s safe to assume the Bears overtake Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the NFC North as the team with a strange-hold on the division.

Could you imagine Mahomes running even Nagy’s Air Reid Lite combined with that defense? Sheesh. They might go 192-0 before losing a game. I almost want to leave this universe just for one day so I can see the comedically unstoppable force that would be the 2019 Bears with Mahomes at QB.


If Kyle Shanahan paid any attention to Mahomes’ college tape instead of letting his franchise get suckered into the latest Patriots-trade-you-Tom-Brady’s-backup scam, the 49ers would have about $130 million more to build a team, and they’d have Pat Mahomes. Mahomes would make Shanahan look like the genius everyone says he is. The 49ers are a mess of an organization who do not deserve to be bailed out by Mahomes, and I’m almost certain his presence would result in a Super Bowl followed immediately by Jed York cutting him out of his inexplicable allergy to winning.


While the Jags wouldn’t have been an ideal fit schematically, Mahomes would have been inserted into an immediately winnable division on a team with an elite defense. This is the same team that went all the way to an AFC Championship game against the Patriots that they almost won—with Blake Bortles.

Even a rookie Mahomes without a year of Andy Reid‘s signature seasoning and reality-bending scheme would have launched this team into the stratosphere. Not only would they have gone to the Super Bowl, they’d have erased the Philly Special from history and won it. In turn, the team wouldn’t regress to a dismal 5-11 in 2018, as the defense would remain fearsome as the franchise started putting more offensive pieces around Mahomes. Jalen Ramsey wouldn’t demand a trade and I’d have one less thing to be perpetually frustrated about the Chiefs not doing.


A similar situation to the Jaguars, Mahomes as a Titan makes them immediate AFC South favorites every single year. One of the more boring teams in football suddenly become one of the most fun to watch. They wouldn’t be quite the Super Bowl favorites the Jags would be out of the gate, but entering the 2019 season they’d have two deep playoff runs under their belt to set up a potential title year. This reality would take a little bit of the heartbreak out of the Chiefs’ 2017, as instead of losing a close playoff game to the Titans they should have won, K.C. would instead be blown out by a Mahomes-led offense they simply couldn’t handle. So thanks for that, alternate universe Titans Mahomes.


Mahomes would run New York. With the Jets roster as it was in 2017, he’d have a rocky start trying to conquer Brady, but if there was ever a city built specifically for Showtime, it’s NYC. The Jets would figure out a way to ruin everything, because they’re the Jets, but they’d be a whole lot of fun to watch doing it. I don’t think even Mahomes could make those awful new Jets uniforms look good, though. There’s only so much you can ask of one man.


If the Chargers took Mahomes as the heir to the Philip Rivers throne, he’d have likely sat for a season much like he did in K.C. This would, like it did in our reality, give Mahomes time to unlearn some bad habits and refine his game from the safety of the practice field. It would also give him time to get a headstart on siring his own army of babies, which I can only imagine is a prerequisite of becoming the Chargers’ starting quarterback.

After a redshirt season of practicing and procreation, Mahomes would be deemed too good to let him sit another year, and Rivers would be shipped off to Washington, Miami, Buffalo, Arizona, or someplace else where getting Rivers would feel like winning the lotto.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, Mahomes in Chargers blue would result in AFC West dominance very similar to what K.C. is currently experiencing. With the Chargers’ roster, Mahomes would have likely led them to not only a Super Bowl in 2018, but multiple titles in the years to come. This is the alternate universe where Mahomes is the bane of our existence, causing us to be the ones taking to Twitter every week to explain how, actually, Mahomes isn’t that good and it’s totally just the system and his weapons bailing him out.


This is easily the team that has the best argument that it made no sense to draft Mahomes in 2017. While they were coming off a 2016 where Cam Newton struggled, it was only a year previous when he was the NFL MVP and led them to an NFC Championship. So in 2017 the Panthers were still fully convinced Newton was a long-term franchise quarterback, despite his 2016 struggles. If they saw the writing on the wall for Newton (or simply refused to ignore Mahomes’ talent), though, and took Mahomes at 8, it would have created one of the more entertaining quarterback controversies in history.

With Cam having only a slight statistical bounce-back in 2017, which saw the Panthers go 11-5 but one-and-done in the playoffs as a Wild Card, the fan base would no-doubt want to at least see what the kid who lit up the preseason would do in real games in 2018. But with Newton entrenched as the face of the franchise, it’s equally likely Mahomes ends up traded by Carolina, which makes this the one alternate reality that opens the door back for Mahomes to find his way to Kansas City.

But that wouldn’t be what happens. He’d wind up with Gruden in Oakland, probably. Gross.


Mahomes has his knee caved in during Week 3 of his rookie season because Mike Brown is a trash man who spends exactly zero money to protect his quarterbacks. He immediately retires instead of spending one more day in Cincinnati.


The Bills took Josh Allen in 2018, which was ostensibly a letter to their fans saying, “We made a huge mistake last year. Sorry. Here’s Diet White Mahomes, please buy tickets.”. If they didn’t make a huge mistake, and gift the Chiefs the most exciting player on the planet, the Bills could have gotten a one-year head start on not properly building around a young, talented strong-armed quarterback. Fortunately for the Bills, their defense was already very talented, which would be more than enough for Mahomes to drag the franchise into the playoffs every year. He might even squeeze a Super Bowl win out of the deal.

Fortunately, none of these realities are our reality. In our reality, all these franchises are total bozos who passed on Mahomes and let him fall to the Chiefs. Man, I sure am glad so many teams were so dumb, aren’t you? I’d hate to wake up every single day and be a fan of a team where I have to say, “Well, we don’t have Patrick Mahomes, but at least we have John Ross.”

Next. Around the AFC West: Week 3. dark