Why Did Mahomes Slip In NFL Draft? Todd Haley Has A Theory

The Bears, Jets and Bengals, among others, passed on Patrick Mahomes in 2017

Zach Gelb
January 21, 2020 - 11:03 am
Patrick Mahomes Chiefs

USA Today Images


Patrick Mahomes’ NFL rise has been meteoric. He was named MVP in his first season as a starter, and he led the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl as an encore.

And he’s still just 24 years old.

“He’s a phenom,” former NFL coach Todd Haley said on The Zach Gelb Show. “He is a phenom. We spent a lot of time with him when I was in Pittsburgh, and [he’s] just such a likable guy. There were so many things you liked about him, and [he is just] so ultra-talented. He’s got throws named after him.”

Mahomes threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-24 win over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship on Sunday. He also added 53 yards and a touchdown on the ground. His 27-yard touchdown run just before halftime gave the Chiefs the lead for good, and it was, quite simply, a thing of beauty.

“The run he made, I’m new to Twitter, but I just tweeted, ‘Wow,’” Haley said. “He’s a phenom. It’s amazing. Third-and-10, 3rd-and-12 – it doesn’t matter. When you’re watching him, you believe that he’s not going to be stopped. He’s great for the league. Just a great kid and awesome to watch. Kansas City is going to be in it for a long time with that guy.”

Haley, 52, was head coach of the Chiefs from 2009 to 2011. He followed that with six seasons as Steelers offensive coordinator and met with Mahomes before the 2017 NFL Draft.

Why exactly did the Texas Tech product slip to tenth overall?

“I don’t know for sure,” Haley said. “He’s playing at a place where they give up 40 points a game and they score 45 or 35 or 50 points a game. Sometimes in college it looks so easy and in certain leagues there leaves a lot to be desired with the defense. So I just think people see guys put up gaudy numbers and think, ‘Well this is just another guy.’

“But when you spend time with certain guys, he was one of them that just stood out,” Haley continued. “You knew he had that it factor. The voice is funny. You want to laugh the whole time you’re talking to him. But he just had a quiet confidence about him. I think he handles himself tremendously. Lamar Jackson, it’s much the same. You don’t hear much out of him, but he’s a very likable leader.”

Jackson, only 23, took the league by storm this season. There will likely be many Jackson-Mahomes matchups in the years to come.

“I think it’s just great for the NFL,” Haley said. “There’s been a big turnover. It’s neat to see two different teams in the Super Bowl for the first time in so long led by a different quarterback. I think that’s great for the league. All these young up-and-coming guys – Josh Allen and those guys – it’s going to be fun to watch these guys develop and continue to get better. They’re not where they’re going to end right now. They’re going to get a lot better.”