Patrick Mahomes addressed pre-draft criticism in an open letter to the NFL the day he was drafted

Patrick Mahomes was more aware of his pre-draft critics than anyone else on the planet. Mahomes, who had just completed a prolific career at Texas Tech, addressed these criticisms in an open letter to the NFL before he was drafted.

Mahomes’ open letter, published by “The Players’ Tribune” on the morning of the start of the 2017 NFL Draft, brought to light the following questions that had been circulating about his potential future as a professional quarterback:

“He plays Air Raid offense. Can he take snaps at center? What about audibles?”

“Does he really have the discipline to do well at quarterback in the NFL?”

Instead of dodging these questions, Mahomes attacked them. He wrote of how he learned to “lead an offense” during his time with the Red Raiders, an intangible that cannot be measured during a Combine or Pro Day. Mahomes also emphasized how he improved “in every major category” each season during his collegiate career.

“Whatever critics want to criticize me for, I know I can fix with hard work,” he wrote. “I’m not a draft quarterback. People who say that aren’t really watching my tape. I know I can make any pitch, especially when my team needs a big play.”

Mahomes recognized that he was not and would not be perfect in the future. He said he missed shots during the NFL Combine and it’s possible he didn’t answer every team’s questions to his liking. But he hoped teams could see that each of his responses was sincere. Mahomes also reiterated the fact that he took responsibility for any mistakes he made on the football field while at Texas Tech.

“I may make mistakes along the way,” Mahomes wrote. “And I’m not going to win every game I play during my career. I’m not going to retire with a perfect passer rating or zero career interceptions. But I’m going to try as hard as anyone.”

Mahomes didn’t have to convince the Chiefs and head coach Andy Reid, who selected him with the 10th overall pick. Mahomes was the second quarterback selected; the Chicago Bears drafted current Steelers reserve Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick.

After spending his rookie year scouting veteran Alex Smith, Mahomes took the league by storm in his second season. He won league MVP after having one of the most prolific seasons for a quarterback in league annals. Mahomes led the Chiefs to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title the following season, while also becoming the first player to win the league and Super Bowl MVP title before his 25th birthday.

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Mahomes led the Chiefs back to the Super Bowl the following season, but they were dethroned by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The Chiefs’ reign at the top of the AFC was briefly interrupted the following year when they were defeated by Joe Burrow and the Bengals in the AFC title game.

Despite being a recent champion, the Chiefs had Missouri-sized chips on their shoulders going into the 2022 season. Determined to prove they were still a championship team (even after trading Tyreek Hill during the offseason), the Chiefs went 14 -3 during the regular season. They then evened the score with Cincinnati as they regained the AFC while receiving a valiant effort from Mahomes, who played through a painful ankle sprain.

The Chiefs officially regained their title as the best team in the NFL by defeating the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. And while he never actually lost, Mahomes in the process supplanted his status as the best player in professional football. He won Super Bowl MVP for a second time as he joined Brady and Joe Montana as the only players with multiple league and Super Bowl MVP trophies.

Mahomes’ rapid rise to the top of professional football has rendered any pre-draft doubts about his ability entirely obsolete. He made the end of his open letter prophetic.

“I am ready to begin the journey to a championship,” he wrote. “And, more than anything else in the world, I’m ready to get dressed and play football. The sooner we can, the better.

“Just wait until you see me in the huddle.”

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