With Drew Brees in the room and Patrick Mahomes sliding, 2017 draft almost got awkward for Saints


We’ve done a pretty good job of keeping under wraps some of the new reporting contained in Playmakers, my book about he past 20 years in the NFL. Which means that I trusted the right people to whom advance copies were sent, and/or that the untrustworthy ones never bothered to read it.

We’ve strategically posted some of the new information, given the basic realities of capitalism. Here’s another nugget from the book, one that had not yet previously seen the light of day.

During the 2017 draft, Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes slid through the top 10. The Saints held the eleventh overall pick. Saints coach Sean Payton privately loved Mahomes. The Saints, as we understand it, were definitely planning to draft him if he were available.

As the selections crept closer to eleven, into the draft room walked quarterback Drew Brees, who was touring the facility with some friends. Which meant that Brees and his friends may have been literally in the room when the Saints drafted Mahomes. At that point, the Saints decided to let Brees know that he was potentially going to witness the selection of his eventual replacement.

Obviously, the Chiefs kept that from happening, by trading up to No. 10 with the Bills, and snatching Mahomes.

I mention this eleven days before the official publication of Playmakers because, in a recent interview with GQ.com, Payton told the story of how the Saints were seriously considering drafting Mahomes, with Brees and friends entered the draft room just in time to see it happen.

“You can’t make this up,” Payton told Clay Skipper of GQ.com. “He had never been in a draft room in how many years. I said, ‘Hey, there’s a good chance we’re taking Patrick Mahomes and it’s not gonna impact [you]. You’re going to finish, retire, whatever. But we might draft Mahomes here and I just want to let you know.’ He’s like, ‘Oh yeah, all good.'”

Making the potential selection of Mahomes even more plausible is the fact that Brees, as of 2017, was seriously considering retirement. Brees has explained that previously; it came up during one of his late-career Super Bowl-week visits to PFT Live. Assuming he’d shared his thought process with the Saints, it would have made the decision to target Mahomes even more realistic, and prudent.

So what would have happened if the Saints had taken Mahomes? Would Brees have left after the 2017 season, when his contract expired? Or would he have simply retired? It would have been very difficult to hold Mahomes down, given the overall skillset he instantly displayed, first on the practice field and then in the preseason for the Chiefs.

For more stories like this regarding the inner working of the NFL over the past 20 years, order Playmakers now.

11 responses to “With Drew Brees in the room and Patrick Mahomes sliding, 2017 draft almost got awkward for Saints

  1. Man, what an epic transition that wpuld have been, legend to legend, like Farvrerer to Rodgers, or Montana to Young.

    Or, an acrimonious breakup and angering your all time HOF QB

  2. Everyone love Mahommes just like everyone loved Tom Brady. If he really loved him and had an aging QB, you move up a draft him. He didn’t love him as much as Andy Reid did which means Andy got him and will coach in a few more Super Bowls and Sean will sit it out this year and try to get with a team next year with a top ten QB

  3. They should have thought about the future. Instead they paid for a qb over the next 3 years n no superbowl

  4. Yah just let players waltz into the draft room on draft day? That’s intriguing.

  5. Oh wow, another team claims they were going to take an all-world QB 5 years after he’s proven himself…. Hindsight is now published as if actually happened….

  6. While the Brees walking in the room is new, Payton intending to draft Mahomes is pretty well known in New Orleans. Payton noticeably stopped talking up draft candidates after that as he had been publicly drooling over Mahomes pre-draft.

  7. im sure the bills feel 1000x worse about not picking mahommes than the saints.
    obviously not on their radar…

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