The Buffalo Payments weren’t going to pick a quarterback through the 2017 first spherical. However the “what if” sport is at all times enjoyable.
When Kansas Metropolis traded up within the 2017 NFL Draft to the No. 10 total choose to take Patrick Mahomes, it was the Payments who traded out of that spot. So on NFL Draft charts in every single place, that No. 10 choose reveals as Kansas Metropolis’s (from Buffalo). There’s an alternate universe the place the Payments are satisfied sufficient to take Mahomes. That may’ve altered all types of issues, from MVP trophies to Tremendous Bowl champions. Josh Allen, Alex Smith and Tre’Davious White doubtless would’ve wound up somewhere else. And someway, in plenty of these hypotheticals, Lamar Jackson finally ends up impacted, too.
We have examined why the Payments-Chiefs 2017 draft day commerce occurred. It made sense. However for these of you who like hypotheticals, that is the article for you. Take pleasure in a visit right into a fantasy land the place Mahomes is a Invoice, Allen is a Dolphin and Jackson is already a Tremendous Bowl champion.
Patrick Mahomes to the Payments (or elsewhere)
It has been well-documented at this level that the Payments weren’t available in the market for a high-round QB in 2017 resulting from restricted superior scouting executed by a brand new head coach and a yet-to-be-determined new normal supervisor. However let’s simply think about that Sean McDermott turned on just a few Texas Tech highlights and was blown away by the absurd throws Mahomes each tried and accomplished. In his first yr as head coach with an outgoing GM serving to him draft, McDermott may have chosen to hold his hat on Mahomes.
On this alternate situation, as an alternative of buying and selling down, the Payments stick on the 10th total choose and take Mahomes. His first season might have performed out equally to the way it did in Kansas Metropolis. Buffalo already had Tyrod Taylor coming off two strong seasons as a starter, so he may’ve been the holdover starter in 2017, too. Mahomes may have discovered the pace of the sport in apply and on the sideline, similar to he did in Ok.C. working behind Alex Smith.
Let’s assume that like in Kansas Metropolis, Buffalo chooses to maneuver on from its incumbent after 2017 and hand the reins to Mahomes. In Ok.C., that meant an MVP 2018 season for the second-year QB. He had tons of weapons with the Chiefs, beginning with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The Payments didn’t present such encouragement on the skin in 2018: Zay Jones led the workforce in receptions, with Robert Foster and Kelvin Benjamin each getting the occasional goal, too.
Mahomes’ greatest blessing in a 2018 beginning for the Payments would’ve been LeSean McCoy, in his closing yr in Buffalo and nonetheless comparatively productive. Nevertheless it looks as if there’s virtually no manner that Mahomes would have had the rapid success that noticed him throw 50 TDs in 2018 for the Chiefs. It is onerous to foretell whether or not a number of early dump-down passes to McCoy would’ve stifled Mahomes’ growth totally. That appears unlikely, and the potential additions of John Brown and Cole Beasley earlier than 2019 would’ve helped. No Tremendous Bowl, but, however extra success exhibiting off Mahomes’ cannon of a proper arm.
The Payments doubtless nonetheless would’ve been intrigued by what their younger QB may do with a famous person receiver and traded for Stefon Diggs within the offseason. And so simply as Buffalo is making the case with Allen now, Mahomes and the Payments might have been 2020 Tremendous Bowl contenders after increase their roster to be nearer in expertise to Kansas Metropolis than it was in 2018 or 2019.
The Chiefs’ GM on the time, John Dorsey, advised ESPN that he feared Mahomes would possibly go at choose 11 to New Orleans or choose 13 to the Giants if the Chiefs did not commerce up. So if the Payments insisted on passing on a QB, Mahomes may have wound up an understudy to Drew Brees or Eli Manning.
If Mahomes went to the Saints, he would possibly’ve accelerated Brees’ departure from city or retirement. Possibly Brees would’ve damaged information elsewhere in 2018 and 2019. In New York, Mahomes very properly may have led to Manning’s retirement one yr earlier, following the identical sit one, take over yr two components as he did in Kansas Metropolis.
The place would Josh Allen be?
This is the place issues get attention-grabbing. Mahomes looks as if a transcendent sufficient expertise that he’d finally succeed anyplace. Allen was much more divisive as a prospect than Mahomes. The large arm was apparent, however accuracy struggles towards comparatively weak competitors at Wyoming gave Allen his doubters.
If the Payments took their franchise quarterback a yr earlier, Allen would’ve fallen previous Buffalo’s choose in 2018. Possibly the Cardinals would’ve taken him as an alternative of Josh Rosen at 10th total and destined Allen to a disastrous rookie season behind a horrible offensive line that may’ve stunted his growth. A division rival, the Dolphins, may’ve chosen Allen at No. 11 and made him their inheritor to Ryan Tannehill. If the Saints did not get Mahomes the yr earlier than, Allen may’ve gone at No. 14 to be Brees’ inheritor obvious.
Whereas Allen might have introduced divisiveness in his draft yr, he is grown in plenty of methods since becoming a member of the league. His accuracy has gone up as his interceptions have gone down, and he is confirmed dynamic capability as a scrambler. His development from a junior faculty quarterback to an NFL star might have occurred in most locations, regardless of that not essentially being obvious from the beginning.
Doubtlessly essentially the most intriguing touchdown spot for Allen for these functions would’ve been the Dolphins, who needed to know Tannehill was on the best way out after the 2018 season. That may’ve revitalized the Payments-Dolphins rivalry with a Mahomes/Allen QB battle that might’ve grown to Jim Kelly-Dan Marino heights.
If Allen took over as Miami’s starter in 2019, he would’ve had an rising DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki to throw to, doubtlessly quickening their growth relatively than catching passes from Josh Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Allen with the Dolphins additionally would’ve meant a special touchdown spot for Tua Tagovailoa within the 2020 draft, a special spot for Fitzpatrick to pad profession numbers on a shedding workforce and perhaps even a faster shifting on from Tannehill that may’ve seen him land elsewhere than Tennessee. Possibly Marcus Mariota would nonetheless be beginning for the Titans whereas Tannehill by no means would’ve saved his profession and signed an enormous new contract.
And hey, whereas we’re down that rabbit gap, which means Lamar Jackson would’ve by no means been knocked out of the 2019 playoffs by the Titans, then would’ve beat a Mahomes-less Chiefs and doubtless received Tremendous Bowl 54 himself to cap his MVP season.
What would have occurred to Alex Smith?
The Chiefs went 12-Four with Smith as their beginning quarterback the season earlier than they drafted Mahomes. Smith was 33 coming into the 2017 season, and whereas he did not appear prone to lead the Chiefs to Tremendous Bowl heights, it regarded like he might be a profitable quarterback for one more handful of years.
Kansas Metropolis may’ve determined to face pat with Smith as its quarterback. His deal expired in 2017, so perhaps he nonetheless leaves and indicators with Washington for 2018. With out a franchise quarterback in ready, although, Kansas Metropolis may’ve chosen to resign Smith and pursue a pair extra 10-6 seasons.
If Smith nonetheless walked, and Ok.C. had by no means traded its 2018 first-rounder to Buffalo, the Chiefs might have been on the lookout for a QB on the 22nd choose of the 2018 NFL Draft. Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Allen and Rosen have been already off the board, leaving the highest quarterback out there as Jackson, who went 32nd to Baltimore in actual life.
Possibly Andy Reid chooses he likes the offensive potentialities of choosing Jackson and takes him. If Jackson advanced in the identical manner he did for the Ravens, the Chiefs may’ve nonetheless been 2019 Tremendous Bowl contenders. In Baltimore, the Ravens would’ve both toiled with Joe Flacco at quarterback or reached on a QB at that 32nd spot in 2018, doubtlessly Mason Rudolph.
So now we have one hypothetical the place Jackson wins a Tremendous Bowl in Baltimore in 2019, and one other the place he wins a Tremendous Bowl in Kansas Metropolis in 2019. Gotta love hypotheticals.
Who drafts Tre’Davious White, Tremaine Edmunds?
The Payments chosen White in 2017 with the No. 27 total choose, which got here from Kansas Metropolis when the Chiefs moved as much as take Mahomes. Buffalo additionally acquired what turned out to be the No. 22 choose in 2018, which the Payments used to commerce as much as No. 16 and choose the linebacker Edmunds.
As an alternative, perhaps the Chiefs stand pat at 27 and choose White there. As an alternative of extending Mahomes for monumental cash within the 2020 offseason, the Chiefs might have been extending White for high cornerback greenback, because the Payments did within the 2020 offseason. If Smith stayed on the town, a lockdown cornerback would’ve been key to persevering with to win in a possession-based offense that would wish its protection to carry the opponent down.
Baltimore was the unique drafted on the 16th choose in 2018 the place Edmunds went. In the event that they stayed in place and picked Edmunds, their math on buying and selling again into the top of the primary spherical to pick Jackson might have modified. Baltimore traded down twice from 16, finally winding up at No. 25 to pick tight finish Hayden Hurst whereas accumulating draft capital within the trades down. With out the additional draft picks, the Ravens might have been much less comfy buying and selling draft picks to maneuver as much as take Jackson.
If Jackson hadn’t gone to Baltimore at No. 32, the following couple attainable touchdown spots might have included the Giants, Broncos and Titans. With out Greg Roman as his offensive coordinator, Jackson might have been slower in his total offensive growth and never received the 2019 MVP. It is like Edmunds would have grown into an incredible linebacker in Baltimore, which has a convention of rising studs at that place. And there is no purpose to imagine White would’ve been any much less profitable as a cornerback on one other workforce, both.