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The hectic final days: Patrick Mahomes on the go as NFL draft nears

Posted: April 24, 2017 - 8:17pm
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To describe the past month for Patrick Mahomes II, one might use an analogy to his game: The Texas Tech quarterback’s been running around, not staying in one place for long and might be throwing his arms up in jubilation when it’s all over.

“He’s really had the most rigorous schedule in terms of travel that I can remember a player having in years,” Leigh Steinberg, Mahomes’ agent, said late last week. “He has now visited with or met with on campus 19 teams and the travel has been extensive.”

The reward could come Thursday night when the three-day NFL draft begins. Many pundits expect Mahomes to be a first-round draft pick, and Steinberg thinks Mahomes won’t have to wait long.

“Let me just say this: I think it’s most likely that he goes to a team that has an incumbent quarterback who’s nearing the end of his career,” Steinberg said, “and I think that his range is probably the 13th pick in the first round and up.”

The 13th selection belongs to the Arizona Cardinals, one of the teams with an aging quarterback, 37-year-old Carson Palmer. Quite a few teams could have an interest in a quarterback, though, in which case the top prospects at that position stand to benefit.

“I haven’t seen quite this many teams be in the market for quarterbacks in quite some time,” Steinberg said, “so if you look at it, you have teams — San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, the New York Jets, Houston — that could probably use a quarterback immediately. Maybe Buffalo.

“And there are teams like New Orleans, Kansas City, Arizona, San Diego, the New York Giants, Pittsburgh who have a quarterback that’s getting toward the end of their career. They would like to have one in place for a smooth transition. That creates a huge market for quarterbacks, so what you could see happen on draft night is a quarterback run.”

Mahomes turned down an invitation to attend the draft night proceedings on site in Philadelphia, opting instead to spend it with family and friends in East Texas.

The last three weeks, Steinberg said, have been hectic.

In addition to Mahomes’ team visits, the two-time FBS total offense leader has spent a day in Los Angeles doing media engagements, a day in Bristol, Connecticut, making the ESPN-related media rounds and did all the live shows on the NFL Network. He’s become a favorite of former NFL coach Jon Gruden who, after Mahomes’ segment on the “Jon Gruden’s Quarterback Camp” show on ESPN, called the Tech standout the top quarterback of the class.

Mahomes returned to Indianapolis, site of the NFL scouting combine, to do a recheck on his physical. He’s had travel snafus such as being sent to Orlando, Florida, when he was supposed to go to Jacksonville.

“He’s had a couple of nights where flights got canceled and he had to, in essence, stay in an airport,” Steinberg said, “and through it all he’s been unflappable and stayed calm, shown resourcefulness in finding himself an Uber from one place to another and impressed teams mightily with his passion for football, his enthusiasm, his knowledge of the game, and he’s experiencing a meteoric rise in terms of potential draft position.

“So his national name recognition is growing. I don’t think anyone besides someone running for the presidency has had a schedule quite like his.”

Asked what client with whom he’s been associated has had a comparable rise, Steinberg thought back to Akili Smith, the former Oregon quarterback who was taken No. 3 overall in 1999.

“Patrick won’t go that high,” Steinberg said. “But if you recall, people were talking about Patrick as a second-round draft pick when we started the process. … I think (ESPN’s) Todd McShay has him as the 32nd pick, and there’s some that still have him in the second round. But I believe that worst case, he goes in the top half of the first round and he could go higher than that.”

Steinberg once was arguably the most high-profile agent in football, having represented eight No. 1 overall draft picks. His client list included star quarterbacks Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Warren Moon and Ben Roethlisberger. He fell on hard times in the 2000s, battling alcoholism and filing for bankruptcy in early 2012.

Reportedly sober since 2010, he’s making a comeback with a new client list that includes Paxton Lynch, the Denver Broncos’ first-round pick last year, and Mahomes, among others.

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