SANTA CLARA — His name is Patrick Mahomes, he’s the hottest young quarterback in the NFL and the 49ers could have drafted him. They didn’t. Now, they have to face him Sunday, and they’re six-and-a-half-point underdogs.
Mahomes, the quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, started only one game last season as a rookie. This season, through two games, he has thrown 10 touchdown passes, zero interceptions and his quarterback rating is 143.3. Nearly perfect. Perfect is 158.3.
Mahomes comes from a gimmick, college offense at Texas Tech — lots of quick, short passes that often don’t translate to success in the NFL. When he entered the draft in 2017, some experts thought he was a product of that offense. The 49ers still considered drafting him, even met with him before the draft. They needed a quarterback. They hadn’t yet traded for Jimmy Garoppolo and given him a five-year, $137.5 million contract. They passed on Mahomes.
Obviously, the 49ers are happy with Garoppolo. He’s talented, even though he has struggled this season. His passer rating is merely 77.4. Still, he’s only 26.
But Mahomes is 23. And he’s much cheaper than Garoppolo. Mahomes will make “just” $16.4 million through 2020. Had the 49ers known how well he would play early in his career, they might have selected him and never traded for Garoppolo.
Instead, the 49ers used the third pick in the draft on defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, who’s a bust. A part-time player who doesn’t rush the quarterback well.
With the 10th pick, the Chiefs took Mahomes.
“It is tough to evaluate,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday.
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