You want to hear something scary for the rest of the National Football League?
The reigning Super Bowl MVP, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, has yet to reach his prime. In fact — Mahomes is probably several years away from the height of his absolute powers. We were asked what Patrick Mahomes’ peak will look like on the mailbag edition of the AP Laboratory this week — which is now available.
It’s only been two seasons, but so far, the results have been unprecedented. We’ve seen gaudy statistics, wildly impressive individual performances en route to a world championship in his second year as a starter.
There have already been some iconic moments like the no-look or left-handed pass, but Peak Mahomes actually could see less of that. In fact, Peak Mahomes might be more boring in some regard. That doesn’t mean there won’t be the flair for the spectacular we’ve all become accustomed to seeing, but Peak Mahomes has seen a lot more and is getting the ball out of his hand quickly because he’s processing the game much faster.
Some of the amazing things you saw Mahomes doing out of the pocket — especially in 2018 — were him making up for something he didn’t get right through the pre- or post-snap process.
The reality is the changes have already started — last year wasn’t as much about Mahomes creating out of the pocket as 2018 was because he’s picked up on things in such a short period of time. Even when healthy, Mahomes was operating with superb efficiency in the pocket — it wasn’t just because he had to.
Moving forward, it will be more about Mahomes bailing out bad protection or an incorrect route than it will be him getting something wrong. In between those plays, it’s been a lot of on-time, in-structure plays that may not make the highlight reels but lead to rare offensive efficiency and historic numbers.
Veteran quarterbacks don’t regress mentally. Some may believe in their physical abilities too long and wait to adjust too late. Mahomes will only continue to see more looks that defenses will throw at him — and he doesn’t get caught twice very often. There will be a physical regression, but the mental side will only improve as he keeps playing. He’s mentally just starting — and that should terrify the rest of the NFL. There is so much that will come more quickly to him — and he’s already far ahead of other quarterbacks his age.
The bottom line
Mahomes has normalized the incredible in such a short amount of time. That will continue. He is already a rare passer in a variety of metrics and he’s only getting started. He is already great snap to snap, but there are more levels he can achieve. Mahomes’ peak won’t be about increased left-handed or no-look passes. Think greater efficiency and more touchdowns.
On the back end of his peak, Mahomes’ game is going to age nicely. Because he’s smart, because he has superb arm talent and because he has already shown an ability to operate at high efficiency in structure, the signs are all pointing to sustained success for as long as he wants to play.
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