LAKE FOREST, Ill. — There are a few teams and fanbases that may always ask the question whenever their team faces the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. This week, it’s the Bears’ turn to do so.
What if they had taken Patrick Mahomes with their first round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft?
There are nine teams that can ask that question since the Chiefs selected him with the tenth overall pick. The Bears are often the focus of that conversation since their quarterback question continued decades before and still do today as they face Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium this Sunday at 3:25 p.m.
Ryan’s “Conviction” With His Decision
As many know, Ryan Pace decided to trade up from the third overall pick to the second to select Mitchell Trubisky with the second overall pick.
The general manager famously said the franchise had “conviction” on the former North Carolina quarterback, and showed that in the efforts to acquire him. In the end, it would prove to be an indictment of his era with the team, setting a course which it would not recover despite having the top defense in the league in 2018.
In four seasons with Trubisky, it didn’t work out as the quarterback as the offense primarily under head coach Matt Nagy was never able to consistently produce.
It led to Trubisky not being offered a fifth year on his initial contract after the 2020 season while Nagy and Pace were fired a year later, with the Bears failing to win a playoff game.
Patrick The Superstar
This has been the opposite for Mahomes, who has become arguably the best player in the National Football League since he was selected with the tenth overall pick. Since he took over as starter in 2018, the Chiefs have been in the playoffs five times and have made it to the AFC Championship Game each season.
They’ve qualified for three Super Bowls and won two of them, while the 28-year-old Mahomes has won the NFL MVP twice, led the league in touchdown passes twice, and made the Pro Bowl all five years.
He’s completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 24,772 yards and 196 touchdowns compared to 51 interceptions in 82 NFL games.
Down for the ‘Count’?
During his one regular season game against the Bears in December 2019 at Soldier Field, when the inconsistent Bears were already eliminated from the playoffs, Mahomes seemed to remember what had happened two years earlier.
After a touchdown pass, he looked down at his hands and counted up to ten – the place he was selected in the draft by the Chiefs. Mahomes would throw for 251 yards and two touchdowns in a 26-3 victory and would win his first Super Bowl a month and a half later.
Would Mahomes have worked out as well in Chicago?
There is a thought a key to Mahomes’ quick success was having stability in place with the Chiefs starting in 2017.
An established, offensive-minded coach in Andy Reid awaited him with a quarterback already in place in Alex Smith for the 2017 season. Mahomes didn’t have to be the answer right away and got to watch his first season as the Chiefs won the AFC West Division title.
He also had stability with Eric Bieniemy serving as his offensive coordinator for five seasons up until this year with a number of talented players around him.
Most likely, Mahomes would have had two different head coaches and coordinators his first two seasons since John Fox was likely not going to stay with the team past 2017. On top of that, the Bears have struggled with the development of quarterbacks for decades and still remains a problem to this day as Justin Fields is the latest to find his way for the franchise.
Of course, this is a moot point. Mahomes is winning titles and leading a dynasty in Kansas City when he faces a Bears team that’s still trying to answer the same questions they had when they looked past his name on draft day.
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