Patrick Mahomes II
Will Long | @Willmatic98
Alex Smith has been the Kansas City Chiefs' starting quarterback for the last four years, but that could be subject to change. After being ousted in the early rounds of the playoffs in their last three appearances, Andy Reid decided it was time to bring in another quarterback to potentially take the reigns from Smith, be it this year or in the future.
That quarterback (the one that Reid decided was worth trading an extra first- and third-round pick) was Texas Tech product, Patrick Mahomes II.
Mahomes had two very productive years during his sophomore and junior seasons, which led to his drafting in the top 10.
At Texas Tech, Mahomes showed a true gunslinger's mentality (which draft analyst Mike Mayock compared to Brett Favre). The son of a former professional baseball player, the former Red Raider has a strong arm to throw and complete deep passes and has the mobility to move around in the pocket or scramble from pressure. And that's precisely what Mahomes brings that Smith does not.
As good as Smith has been for Kansas City over the course of the past four seasons, every Chiefs fan has had their gripes about his unwillingness to throw down the field. Smith is merely average in nearly every passing yards category from total passing yards to yards per attempt.
Smith's conservative passing approach is what has been holding back the Chiefs from advancing further in the postseason. He's a game manager that will win games in the regular season, but just can't put points up on the board against better defenses, especially without a solid runner in the backfield.
For instance, the Chiefs' last playoff loss came in a game in which the defense had only given up 18 points. And due to the loss of star running back Jamaal Charles and the injury to would-be starter Spencer Ware, he will have added pressure to perform and lead an offense instead of just managing it.
Enter Mahomes, who is anything but a game manager. He takes risks, he throws downfield, and he scores touchdowns through the air and on the ground. He'll have his growing pains, sure, but his impressive performances during the preseason could be indicative of a quick development.
With Smith and his play style, Kansas City has an obvious ceiling of a divisional round playoff berth. As for Mahomes, who knows where he could take this team this year and in the future. Reid and the Chiefs need to find out.
Ethan Belshe | @The_Belshe
The Kansas City Chiefs did something this offseason that they hadn’t done in 34 years: draft a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft. The Chiefs traded up in the draft to take Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II with the No. 10 pick.
The addition of Mahomes suggests that the Chiefs are starting to plan for a future that doesn’t include current starting quarterback Alex Smith. As it stands, Smith, who is 41-20 as the Chiefs’ starter over the past four years, will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-19 season.
Mahomes has impressed in his limited time on the field for the Chiefs. The rookie signal caller completed 63 percent of his passes and threw four touchdowns over the course of the 2017 preseason. The hype surrounding Mahomes couldn’t be much bigger.
The hype has become so big, in fact, that some are calling for Mahomes to take over the starting quarterback position now. Despite this, it still makes sense for the Chiefs to let Mahomes develop behind Smith, at least for this season.
For the past four seasons, coach Andy Reid has consistently stated that his team’s goal is to win a Super Bowl. It appears that the Chiefs’ window to accomplish this goal is closing. With many of the team’s most important players past the age of 30, it would make sense for the Chiefs’ fortunes to take a downturn in the next couple of seasons.
With this in mind, they need to field the players that give them the best chance to win. Smith clearly gives the Chiefs a better chance to win this season than Mahomes does.
Smith is an incredibly consistent player. As the Chiefs’ starter, Smith has never thrown for less than 15 touchdowns over the course of a season. Additionally, Smith has averaged almost 3,400 yards a season as Kansas City’s starter.
While these may not be the gaudy offensive numbers of some other starting quarterbacks in the NFL, the results on the field speak for themselves. Smith has led Kansas City to the playoffs in all but one of his seasons as the team’s starter.
On the other hand, Mahomes is a wild card. He may have been impressive in limited action, but there is no way to know if Mahomes would be able to replicate his preseason production over the course of an NFL season.
Additionally, Mahomes could greatly benefit from a year or two of sitting behind Smith. As a backup, Mahomes will be free to develop as a quarterback at his own pace without the pressure of having to win games now.
For the Chiefs, the decision is easy. Keeping Smith as the starting quarterback is best for the team’s fortunes in both the long and short term. Because of this, Chiefs fans will have to wait at least one more year before they see Mahomes start a game.
-Edited by Danya Issawi