Imagine a reality in which the Pittsburgh Steelers had selected quarterback Patrick Mahomes as their heir replacement for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Mahomes’ agent Leigh Steinberg recently talked to ESPN’s Adam Teicher about the Kansas City Chiefs selection of his client. Steinberg stated that the Chiefs traded up for Mahomes because many teams had taken a liking to his client, including the Steelers.
“Everybody publicly was saying he was years away from being ready to play, but teams were communicating with us, and we were aware Kansas City liked him very much. We were also aware there were a number of other teams that liked him, teams like the Arizona Cardinals, the New York Giants, the New Orleans Saints, the Pittsburgh Steelers. There were teams that would try to make the move a year early to try to prepare their next starting QB,” Steinberg says.
This should not come as much of a surprise as the Steelers did an extensive amount of homework on Mahomes during the 2017 pre-draft process. The first known meeting between the Steelers and the current Chiefs quarterback came at the 2017 NFL Combine, when he met with the Steelers’ brass. The interest increased from there as current offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, who at the time was strictly the team’s quarterback coach, was in attendance at Mahomes’ Pro Day. The Steelers then completed the hat trick as they invited the former Texas Tech prospect in for a pre-draft visit.
It was during this pre-draft visit where Mahomes shared that his favorite moment of the visit came when Roethlisberger dropped by.
“I was watching film there, for about two hours, and (Roethlisberger) walked in just to say ‘Hi’. There wasn’t much to it, but that was the most exciting thing of the trip for me. I look at him, and I try to play with that same toughness. He’s going to be a Hall of Famer, he’s been to Super Bowls, that’s the guy you want to be like. Hopefully I’ll get to learn from him one day. Maybe I’ll end up competing against him,” Mahomes told NFL.com.
Mahomes did not get the chance to learn from Roethlisberger as the Chiefs selected him long before the Steelers were due on the clock. Interestingly, the Steelers selected Joshua Dobbs, who visited the Steelers facility on the same day as Mahomes, in the fourth round. The Chiefs’ quarterback was right in his prediction that he would one day compete with Roethlisberger as the two went head to head in week two of the 2018 season.
In the lead up to this anticipated matchup, head coach Mike Tomlin alluded to his team’s interest in Mahomes and the talent he possessed.
“Mahomes, he’s a sharp guy, interviewed him through the draft process when he came out. He’s got really unique arm talent. He can make any throw on the field. He can release it from a variety of positions. He can throw stationary; he can throw on the move. He’s got an awesome repertoire of physical talent. He’s a sharp kid.” says Tomlin.
Tomlin and the Steelers would witness Mahomes’ talent first hand as the Chiefs came out victorious 42-37 in a game that perhaps solidified the quarterback as the real deal. The Chiefs’ quarterback finished with 326 passing yards, six touchdowns and just five incompletions as he carved up the Steelers’ defense.
While the Steelers may have liked Mahomes heading into the draft, they certainly can not be enjoying the prospect of battling him for a long time to come.