The MMQB continues a series of inside-inside Trent Murphy Super Bowl LI Jersey , multimedia football stories for the 2017 season with a view into the life of top quarterback prospect Patrick Mahomes in advance of the most important audition of his career: Texas Tech鈥檚 pro day. In the series, we鈥檒l spend a full day with an important person in the football world. We鈥檒l have players, coaches and other figures integral to how the game is played and consumed. Give us feedback 鈥?and ideas for future 24 Hours subjects 鈥?at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The lead-up to a prospect鈥檚 pro day audition is stressful enough. But for Mahomes, just 21 years old and one of the most intriguing players in the 2017 draft class, there鈥檚 even more pressure. This draft class of quarterbacks does not include a surefire franchise player; each of top prospects must take full advantage of this on-campus test and use it as a statement that he should be the top passer chosen on April 27. With a sturdy frame (6’3″, 225 pounds), pro athlete pedigree (his father, Pat Mahomes, pitched in the majors for 11 seasons), big arm and natural charisma Wholesale Malik Jefferson Jersey , Mahomes is a legitimate first-round candidate. Says one AFC personnel man: 鈥淣o doubt he has all the traits you鈥檙e looking for. He may be a project, but you can see him having tremendous upside, perhaps more than any of the guys in his class.鈥?/i>
On March 31, representatives from 28 teams traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to watch Mahomes perform a 68-throw script. The MMQB鈥檚 Emily Kaplan followed Mahomes for a 24-hour period before his pro day, a peek into the preparations of a top quarterback prospect.
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Wednesday, March 29
Mahomes stands alone on the Texas Tech practice field, clad in gray cleats Weston Richburg Super Bowl LI Jersey , black Lululemon sweat pants and a long-sleeve, navy blue shirt from his stint as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. In the plains of Northwest Texas 鈥?85 percent sky, 15 percent grassland, as locals say 鈥?spring is usually warm, dry and windy. The wind is here, but it鈥檚 also 40 degrees with a steady mist as Mahomes begins seven minutes of dynamic stretching: a jog to the 20-yard line, knee hugs and striders.
Mahomes spent the past hour with an NFL quarterback coach. So much of the NFL draft process is cloak and dagger; the coach asks not to be identified, even though his presence could mean little more than due diligence. He鈥檒l be granted anonymity, though others aren鈥檛 as lucky. A week earlier, details of Mahomes working out for the Saints leaked after Sean Payton was spotted in downtown Lubbock (it didn鈥檛 help that he posed for a handful of photos).
Since the combine Wholesale Kenny Young Jersey , Mahomes has scheduled a total of 18 private workouts or official visits from teams. Today鈥檚 interview began 鈥渋n the classroom鈥?鈥?draft parlance for testing a player鈥檚 X鈥檚 and O鈥檚 acumen. The coach calls up Texas Tech footage and asks Mahomes to walk him through the play call, his protections and rationalize his decisions. The coach then draws three plays from his NFL playbook and asks Mahomes to recite them back.
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The NFL quarterback coach joins Mahomes on the field. He鈥檚 not going to put Mahomes through a full workout, but he does want to see him throw. Because the coach is here solo, he asks the Texas Tech video department to film the session. There is one camera at field level and another on a crane. The coach gives instructions to the cameramen: 鈥淚f you could get the angle mostly of him, but also the target, that would be great.鈥?Within an hour, the footage will be emailed directly to that team鈥檚 headquarters for the rest of the organization to analyze.
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鈥淗ey, can somebody get Jared?鈥?Mahomes shouts. Jared Kaster is a former Texas Tech center who overlapped with Mahomes for two seasons. Now he鈥檚 an offensive quality control coach at Texas Tech, but he鈥檒l snap balls to Mahomes for this session and at the pro day. One of the biggest unknowns with Mahomes, and most college quarterbacks who played almost exclusively from the shotgun (more than 95 percent of the time for Mahomes) Cheap Connor Williams Jersey , is his ability to take snaps from under center.
Though Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury made Mahomes take snaps from under center every practice, the quarterback rarely did it aside from short-yardage situations in games. And during the draft process, Mahomes has a significant disadvantage to overcome. On Oct. 22, in the Red Raiders鈥?66-59 loss to Oklahoma, Mahomes broke his left wrist in the first half. (He would ultimately attempt 88 throws in that game, amassing 734 yards and five touchdowns, as well as an NCAA single-game record 819 yards of total offense.) He didn鈥檛 miss any time last season due to the injury, but he underwent surgery in December. Many around Lubbock believed the injury would force Mahomes to return to school for his senior year.
Even though it鈥檚 his non-throwing hand, the injury is significant: When taking snaps under center, the left hand stabilizes the ball. He had a cast for a month and didn鈥檛 get the screws out until mid-January. He couldn鈥檛 throw the football much during that span. Texas Tech scheduled its pro day as late as possible just in case Mahomes needed the extra time to heal. 鈥淚n the end Wholesale Martavis Bryant Jersey , though, we probably didn鈥檛 have to push it back,鈥?says Mahomes, in his thick Texas drawl, as he shows off a gnarly five-inch scar stretching from his wrist to knuckles. 鈥淢y wrist healed much faster than I thought, and once [I got the screws out] I felt like I could throw just fine. Maybe it put me behind a little bit, but I鈥檓 100 percent now.鈥?/p>
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