When a team takes a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft, it’s usually because that team a) isn’t good or b) desperately needs a quarterback. Or both.
Well, the Kansas City Chiefs have made the playoffs in three of the last four seasons and are 23-6 over their last 29 games (playoffs included). They also have Alex Smith, who has 37 touchdowns (30 passing, seven rushing) to just 15 interceptions over the last two years.
In other words, they’re good.
Nevertheless, the Chiefs drafted Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes tenth overall in April.
What should fans make of this? Is this still Smith’s team?
“It is much so Alex’s team – and Mahomes and everyone on our team knows that,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It’s not a secret on our team. Do we know how much potential Mahomes has for later on? He’ll be with the Chiefs for a while, I’ll tell you that.”
Mahomes threw for 5,000+ yards and accounted for 53 touchdowns (41 pass, 12 rush) in his final season in Lubbock. He’s not just a system quarterback, either. He’s a bonafide NFL prospect.
And Andy Reid loves him.
“Mahomes is a guy that’s real risky with the ball. He makes some throws in practice, I’m like, ‘Wow,’” Johnson said. “And to work with Andy Reid, I think it’s a plus that he doesn’t have to play right away. I think it’s a good thing. You got to have a little bit of patience with that being a young guy. He’s always been in the spotlight. But going back to Alex, I love Alex. Being a defensive guy, Alex doesn’t turn the ball over. We love that. That helps the team win. Alex is a really smart quarterback and very competitive. We can win with Alex Smith.”
Smith, of course, is no stranger to quarterback controversy, as he and Colin Kaepernick had a highly publicized position battle in San Francisco.
“I think Alex has been through a lot of stuff in his career, so I think he can take pressure,” Johnson said. “I think he’s going to take it greatly just to help him to be a better player. If you can’t take pressure in this league and you waver when pressure gets on you and competition gets on you, then you’re not worthy of the job. I believe he’s worthy of the job, and it’s just going to make him a better player.”
The Chiefs open the season in perhaps the most unenviable way possible: at New England on Sept. 7. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.