KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs general manager John Dorsey his press conference following the first round of the NFL draft with smile reminiscent of the cat that got the mouse.
He knew he wanted to draft quarterback Patrick Mahomes from Texas Tech. He also knew other NFL teams coveted the gunslinger with the cannon for an arm, so he made a deal to move up to the No. 10 pick in the first round.
Dorsey explained with a smile. “I know there were three teams that wanted this player very badly, and I got a text or two asking, ‘How’d you do that?’”
The interest between the Chiefs and Mahomes appears quite mutual. The quarterback’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, appeared as a guest the “Locked on Chiefs” podcast with hosts Ryan Tracy and Chris Clark.
Steinberg described his ideal landing spot for Mahomes, which sounds a lot like Kansas City.
“My hope for him is that he goes to a team with stable ownership with long-term stability, with a good front office, with a really good coach and with a plan for bringing him along slowly,” Steinberg said on the podcast. “Because we’ve seen what happens when quarterbacks get rushed and put into service quickly without a good supporting cast.”
Steinberg pointed toward two types of teams attracted to Mahomes. One group was teams looking for a new starter quarterback now, including San Francisco, Houston, Cleveland and New York Jets.
He also said teams with established, veteran quarterbacks looking to transition toward the future were interested, including Kansas City, Arizona, New York Giants, New Orleans, Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh.
Cleveland passed on drafting Mahomes with the first overall pick, instead selecting defensive end Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. The Browns may have circled revisiting quarterback with the No. 12 pick.
The Jets and Chargers both passed on Mahomes in the top 10. But what concerned Dorsey may have been the teams following No. 10. The Saints, Browns and Cardinals owned the next three picks, and all had strong interest in him.
“I tried to read as much as I could in terms of reading the other 31 teams and seeing where they were positioning,” Dorsey said. “I felt to get this player, I had to be at 10. There were some that were sitting in there saying, ‘You should go up earlier.’ I thought 10 was the appropriate level to go.”
The Saints may have been one of the teams worrying Dorsey the most. Professional golfer Ryan Palmer was a guest in the Saints’ draft room, and shared insight into the team’s selection process. He said the Saints showed strong interest in Mahomes.
“Those last three or four minutes, deciding who they wanted after their — I think they were really big into Mahomes,” Palmer said.
— Fletcher Mackel (@FletcherWDSU) April 28, 2017
Dorsey said talks with Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley about acquiring the No. 10 pick began five days before the draft. Dorsey said he and Whaley talked daily about the trade leading up to draft day.
“So, we had come to a gentleman’s agreement, but you can never underestimate when you go through that draft, somebody can pull the rug out from under you and all of a sudden you’re left holding nothing,” Dorsey said.
In the end, both sides are ecstatic about the outcome.
“I’ve stressed over and over again that the real key is having a 10-to 15-year productive streak,” Steinberg said. “It’s not when you begin starting for a team, it’s what happens when you get that chance.”