Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach had liked Patrick Mahomes for some time.
The day it turned into love might have been during a 66-10 loss to Iowa State in 2016.
Veach told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America that the Texas Tech quarterback’s resilience that day cemented his respect, and led the Chiefs to target a guy that not many were expecting.
Mahomes had been knocked out of the game early with a shoulder injury, and his team trailed 45-3 at halftime, in what would be his next-to-last college game. Veach was about to leave Ames, Iowa for the day, when he said Mahomes warming up for the second half.
“Now you look back and you see how meaningful that was,” Veach said. “In the Denver game this year, his kneecap pops out, and the son of a buck wants to go back in the game!”
Mahomes rebounding from this year’s knee injury — missing two games and needing time to look like his mobile self again — was one of the big reasons the Chiefs are in position to be in Miami this week.
And though Veach had been high on the toolsy quarterback for more than a year, it took him some time to convince Reid.
“At one point that December ,” Veach said, “I remember Coach calling me into his office and showing me a [Mel] Kiper/[Todd] McShay mock first round. He said, ‘Your guy’s not even in the first round!’ They didn’t have Patrick in the round. I just said, ‘Coach, it’s perfect! Don’t worry. You don’t want him on these lists now. It sets up perfect for us.’ “
So the Chiefs went into spy mode, with Reid saying Veach “CIA’d the whole thing.” They didn’t go to his pro day workout, or spend a lot of time talking to Texas Tech coaches to signal interest.
Then they traded up with Buffalo to the 10th spot and found their guy, a guy who would quickly lead them to the Super Bowl.