The Saints and Chiefs will meet for the first time since Patrick Mahomes has been Kansas City’s quarterback on Sunday, and that has New Orleans head coach Sean Payton reflecting on a choice he almost had to make.
Payton mentioned back in April 2018 — before Mahomes became a full-time starter — that the Saints were considering picking him at No. 11 overall in 2017. But Mahomes, of course, came off the board when the Chiefs traded up to No. 10. The Saints selected cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
This week, Payton remembered Mahomes’ pre-draft workout as particularly impressive.
“I felt like it was the best quarterback I had ever seen on tape in a workout,” Payton said, via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star. “I had done a lot of them to that point. You name it. I just thought he had that rare ability, and there was going to be a ton of upside. Man, he was real good in the meeting room. He processed the information extremely [well] — all those things you can’t see on video. That was just my instincts. I didn’t know for sure.
“But when the draft comes, you begin to think, ‘Well, there’s gotta be someone else that sees what I see.'”
That “someone” was Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. On draft night, Payton figured when Kansas City traded up, it was to take Mahomes.
“Look, I’ve always respected Andy. It was one of those where I don’t know how many people had the grade on Patrick that we had,” Payton said. “But I thought Andy clearly would have with his background at the quarterback position. He would’ve seen, I think, the same things.”
As it turned out, Reid certainly did.