Would Patrick Mahomes have been as successful if the Browns drafted him first overall in 2017? This is a common discussion topic surrounding the young gunslinger.
The Browns drafted Myles Garrett first overall that season. Garrett has been outstanding during his tenure in the Land, many have wondered, namely Arrowhead Addict’s Jacob Harris as to whether Mahomes could have transformed the Browns into immediate playoff contenders:
“This would be interesting on multiple levels. The Browns get their franchise guy one year early, but I think Mahomes might be too great for his own good here, with his play actually saving the jobs of Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown. Mahomes wouldn’t get sucked into the same bottomless pit all the other would-be Browns franchise quarterbacks have, but it’s difficult to imagine the pre-John Dorsey regime building around Mahomes competently. Mahomes on the 2017 Browns peak at just barely good enough to make the playoffs every year. So they’re exactly what the Chiefs have been for multiple stretches of the last 25 years.” Harris said in his NFL alternate reality piece
Despite Mahomes’ talent and ability it isn’t necessarily a lock that he’d have had the same impact in Cleveland as he has done in Kansas City. The reigning Super Bowl MVP had the luxury of playing under a very quarterback friendly head coach in Andy Reid and was able to sit and learn behind Alex Smith. Mahomes and Reid both admitted Smith’s mentorship helped him massively adapting to life in the NFL. In addition, Mahomes actually credited Smith for playing a part in the Chiefs Super Bowl triumph.
Whereas had Mahomes ended up in Cleveland, things would have been far different. For one, he would have been coached by Hue Jackson, a major downgrade from Reid as a head coach. For another, he wouldn’t have had a mentor like Smith and would have been thrown into the firing line in week one.
In all likelihood, Mahomes wouldn’t have had a mentor at all. The Browns released veteran Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III at that time. It isn’t beyond the realms of thought that Mahomes could have endured what DeShone Kizer did in 2017.
To a lesser extent the offensive line has helped Mahomes out too. Had he landed in Cleveland he could’ve been behind an offensive line that allowed 50 sacks that season. For reference, Mahomes has been sacked 43 times in two seasons in Kansas City.
Mahomes is a superstar quarterback and arguably the best offensive player in the league. However, saying two to three seasons down the line in redrafts “the Browns should’ve taken Mahomes” is easier said done. There is no guarantee that the gunslinger would’ve been the same player in Cleveland.
The beauty of the draft is that there is no guarantee of success nor does the spot where players are selected. Other examples support that theory. For example, would Stephen Curry have been the same player had he landed in Minnesota or New York? Would Tom Brady have been the same had he landed outside New England? Or if Julio Jones ended up in Cleveland for that matter?
Had any of those players landed elsewhere there was no guarantee they would have replicated that success. In the end, redrafts are pretty pointless because they are just nothing more than vague predictions of an alternate reality.