Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury went into the NFL Draft on Thursday with a hunch about his quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
“It’s a team I had my eye on,” Kingsbury said. “They had a big interest in him during our season. I had been told they were high on him, and I was hoping they would find a way to get him.”
The Chiefs did just that, trading their first-round position at No. 27 plus a third-round pick and next year’s first-round selection to the Bills for Buffalo’s spot at No. 10 to take Mahomes.
To Kingsbury, Tech’s original Air Raid quarterback, the match of player and team coached by Andy Reid is ideal.
“I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time, the way he develops and works with quarterbacks,” Kingsbury said, noting the quarterbacks who had played for Reid either has a coordinator or head coach: Brett Farve, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Alex Smith.
At Tech, Mahomes finished his freshman season as the starter when Davis Webb was injured and the two candidates battled for the starting job the next season.
Mahomes got most of the first-team reps that spring and Kingsbury saw no reason to switch back.
“Davis got banged up, Patrick rolled in there and really never gave it back,” Kingsbury said. “It got into a competitive situation and Patrick really wanted the ball in his hands.”
The strong-armed Mahomes put up eye-popping numbers in the no-huddle spread and finished with 11,252 career passing yards in 32 games, including an NCAA record-tying 734 yards against Oklahoma in 2016.
He led the nation with 421 yards per game (Davis, at California, was second), and was third nationally in third-down conversion percentage at 66.1.
In his 29 starts, Tech went 13-16. There was a bowl game, a loss to LSU after the 2016 season. But keep in mind, Tech ranked last in the 128-team FBS in scoring defense, allowing 43.3 points per game, and near the bottom the previous year. The Red Raiders averaged 44.4 points in those two years.
“As for the team record deal, I don’t know what more Patrick could have done,” Kingsbury said.
The Chiefs are getting a “humble kid who cares more the team than himself,” Kingsbury said. “He’s not a big in your face guy, more of a guy who talks to (a teammate) on the sideline and says what he’s expecting of them.”