Good News for this 'What-If?' — It Didn't Happen

Joshua Brisco

What if Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went to the Chicago Bears in the 2017 NFL Draft? Don't worry — it's just a hypothetical.

Conor Orr of took a look at 10 of the NFL's biggest what-ifs of the last decade, and the Bears' gaffe in 2017 showed up on his list.

Orr asks: what if the Chicago Bears had drafted Patrick Mahomes (or Deshaun Watson)?

I don’t think this one is necessarily enjoyable because it’s been so overanalyzed. The 2017 quarterback class of Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky is not some kind of once-in-a-lifetime Michael Jordan/Sam Bowie situation. It’s another chapter in the NFL’s long history of unconsciously overrating traits of “certain” players and red-flagging traits of “others.” The evaluation blind spot is not unique to the league and is pervasive across all major businesses in America.
I’m also not quick to assign failings to a player. The Bears, for instance, loved Trubisky more than Mahomes or Watson because of his “humility” and self-deprecating sense of humor. The aged Toyota Camry that Trubisky drove was a somewhat interesting, minor factor in the drafting process. Then, three years later, Trubisky’s struggles with confidence and self-doubt become major headlines in Chicago, as if this was never a possibility.

Orr also looked at what may have come of Mahomes.

If the Bears had taken Mahomes, and still fired John Fox after his rookie year, and still hired Andy Reid protege Matt Nagy, would the team find the same level of success? If Mahomes was not given the chance to sit his rookie season behind Alex Smith and smooth out the rough patches in his game, would he emerge as the same firebrand? If Watson was a Bear, without the comically high catch radius of DeAndre Hopkins and a foundationally sound offense (Trivia Question: Who led the Bears in receiving yards in 2017? Kendall Wright with 614!), what would’ve become of him?

But what would have happened to the Chiefs in this situation? Our own Mark Van Sickle broke that down earlier this offseason, looking deep into a Mahomes-less future for KC.

It's a dark alternate reality to consider, but one that is okay to consider, as the Chiefs have the best QB in the game, and already one Lombardi to show for it.

Feb 5, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) holds the Lombardi trophy as team members celebrate on stage during the Champions Rally. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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