Meet The Nine Players The NFL Drafted Before Patrick Mahomes — And See Where They Ended Up

There’s no denying the fact that Patrick Mahomes is one of the biggest stars in the NFL today. But we shouldn’t forget that he wasn’t the first choice draft pick in 2017 – or the second. In fact, nine other players were selected ahead of Mahomes that year. How’ve they fared since? Well, let’s find out!

For Mahomes, his rise in the sport belies his status as the tenth-choice pick, with the Kansas City Chiefs taking a chance on him. Prior to that move, he’d shown a lot of potential during his younger years, going all the way back to his time at high school. The quarterback was as multi-talented as they come!

You see, Mahomes wasn’t just interested in football at that time. The future star tried his hand at basketball and baseball, too, which no doubt pleased his dad Pat Mahomes. Why’s that? Well, Pat once played as a pitcher in Major League Baseball. Those are some good genes, right?

Anyway, while Mahomes was at Texas’ Whitehouse High School, he racked up some fantastic football statistics – especially in his final year. Yes, the youngster contributed to 65 touchdowns overall, with 50 of those coming from passes. He also registered more than 4,600 passing yards as well.

From there, Mahomes enrolled at Texas Tech University, where he continued to build his sporting reputation. Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t his football skills that got him noticed at first. Instead, the student’s talent for baseball was quickly picked up by the big boys.

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And that brings us to the Major League Baseball draft of 2014. When the chance came, the Detroit Tigers picked Mahomes, who’d stuck with the sport at college. Yet the quarterback turned down the opportunity, as he had dreams of pursuing a career in football. A sliding doors moment if there ever was one, wouldn’t you say?

After that, Mahomes opted to put all of his efforts into football – and it paid off! By the end of the 2016 campaign, for instance, he’d registered over 50 passing touchdowns. Plus, the rising star averaged more than 420 yards each match, too, ahead of setting his sights on the NFL draft in 2017.

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As we already know, the Kansas City Chiefs eventually picked Mahomes up during the draft that year. They tied him to a bumper deal in the summer, worth in excess of $16 million. And the quarterback quickly showed that it was money well spent, as he recorded some staggering figures.

Yes, Mahomes racked up in excess of 2,800 passing yards and registered 26 passing touchdowns in his opening nine games. No other player in modern history could match those numbers after the same period. Then, the Chiefs star added three more in his tenth NFL appearance, setting a jaw-dropping record.

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Incredibly, Mahomes became the only quarterback in the NFL’s long history to record 29 passing touchdowns over a ten-game period as a debutant. Unbelievable, right? And to think he could’ve been a baseball player instead! Off the back of that purple patch, he continued to impress throughout the 2018 campaign, adding to those eye-popping figures.

By the end of the season, Mahomes had 50 passing touchdowns to his name and gained in excess of 5,000 yards. He’s yet to better those numbers for the Chiefs, in fact, which tells you how amazing that campaign really was. The quarterback also completed 383 of his 580 attempted passes across the 16 games, too.

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Due to that effort, Mahomes was named as the NFL’s 2018 MVP as well. And he’s continued to establish himself as one of the league’s standout performers in the years since, winning his first Super Bowl in 2020. From there, the star registered another 38 passing touchdowns in the following campaign.

Mahomes had the opportunity to bag his second Super Bowl title in February 2021, when the Chiefs faced off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although he wasn’t successful that time, it still isn’t a bad record for a tenth choice pick, eh? But as we wondered earlier, what happened to the nine players who were selected ahead of him back in 2017?

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9. John Ross

Well, let’s kick things off with the ninth pick. His name’s John Ross – a wide receiver from Long Beach, California. He played college football at Washington ahead of the draft, when the Cincinnati Bengals signed him up. Unfortunately for Ross, though, he’s struggled to impose himself in the NFL.

As it stands, Ross has only registered ten touchdowns in 27 appearances for the Bengals since 2017. He’s made more than 50 receptions during that period. And it was clear that the wide receiver really wanted a change in the fall of 2020, when he posted a striking tweet at the end of October. His intentions were pretty clear.

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“It’s not a secret that I have requested a trade,” Ross wrote. “Trade me if this [is] how y’all feel. I’m healthy and eager to play. I know I can be productive.” He didn’t get his wish in the end, though. And now the wide receiver is currently on the injured reserve list for the Bengals.

8. Christian McCaffrey

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The eighth pick of the 2017 draft has fared a little better than Ross. We’re referring to Christian McCaffrey, who played college football in Stanford, Connecticut. His efforts there as a running back caught the attention of the Carolina Panthers, prompting the franchise to sign him.

After that, McCaffrey enjoyed a solid start to his NFL career, scoring seven touchdowns in his first 16 games for the Panthers. The running back made close to 120 rushing attempts during the 2017 campaign as well. But there’s no doubt that his standout season came in 2019.

Over the course of that campaign, McCaffrey recorded 19 touchdowns and racked up nearly 2,400 yards from rushing and receiving. His rushing attempts came in at close to 300, too. The improvement was there for all to see, so it’s too bad that the running back only made three appearances in an injury-hampered 2020 season.

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7. Mike Williams

Moving on to the seventh draft pick, that brings us to Mike Williams. This wide receiver was honing his craft in Clemson, South Carolina, ahead of the big day in 2017, when he caught the eye of the Los Angeles Chargers.

But while Williams showed a lot of promise, the Chargers had to consider his health. That’s because the wide receiver had sustained a serious neck injury at college. Despite those concerns, though, the franchise still signed him up. And he’s repaid that faith with some fine performances over the past few years.

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Yes, Williams has recorded 18 touchdowns and racked up in excess 2,500 yards from rushing and receiving in 56 career appearances. Not only that, but he’s made over 150 receptions during that time as well. Overall, you’d have to say that the Chargers star hasn’t done too badly – could there be more to come, though?

6. Jamal Adams

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Anyway, let’s switch our focus to the sixth draft pick now. Jamal Adams had that particular honor, with the New York Jets recruiting him from Louisiana State University. He’s a safety and immediately proved his worth to the Jets with some fantastic defensive displays in the NFL. Adams was a rock!

For instance, during the 2018 season, Adams made 86 solo tackles and defended 12 passes. He’s yet to better those numbers, though, and in the summer of 2020, the safety pushed for a move away from the Jets. Apparently, in his mind the team wasn’t hitting the standards required to be successful.

So the Jets allowed Adams to move to the Seattle Seahawks. How’s he done since then? Well, the safety struggled to hit the heights of previous seasons in 2020, as he only made 12 appearances for his new side. Keeping that in mind, 2021 will be a big year for him.

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5. Corey Davis

Now let’s move on to the fifth choice pick from 2017. His name’s Corey Davis – a wide receiver from Chicago, Illinois. He played college football at Western Michigan ahead of that NFL draft. And thanks to his displays, Davis caught the attention of the Tennessee Titans, who promptly recruited him.

Unfortunately for Davis, his debut campaign wasn’t the greatest, with him making just 11 appearances in 2017. During that time, he failed to score a touchdown in 34 pass receptions for the Titans. Things did get better in the following seasons, though, as the wide receiver slowly acclimatized to the league.

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And it could be argued that Davis’ best season so far came in 2020. At the end of that campaign, he had five touchdowns to his name and made up more than 980 yards – his highest figures to date. The wide receiver also caught 65 passes. So it’ll be interesting to see how he builds on that in 2021.

4. Leonard Fournette

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On that note, it’s time to have a look at the fourth draft pick. Leonard Fournette’s the man in question, who honed his skills at Louisiana State University prior to the 2017 draft. Yep, just like Adams! Fournette’s a running back, and he attracted the attention of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Once Fournette put pen to paper, he got off to a great start for the Jags. The running back scored ten touchdowns and made 268 rushing attempts in 13 games during the 2017 season. But then it all went wrong. He only featured in eight matches the following year, before being released in the summer of 2020.

Thankfully for Fournette, though, he didn’t have to wait long until another team came calling. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked him up in September 2020. And the running back helped his new side to a Super Bowl title February 2021 when they beat Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs. What a story!

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3. Solomon Thomas

So how does the third choice pick compare? Well, Solomon Thomas caught the eye of the San Francisco 49ers thanks to his college performances in Stanford. He’s a defensive end. After joining the team in 2017, Thomas made a decent enough start with 34 solo tackles to his name in 14 appearances.

But then, tragedy struck: Thomas’ sister took her own life in January 2018. And unsurprisingly, that had a major effect on his career. Speaking to USA Today that November, the 49ers’ general manager John Lynch admitted, “It’s been tough on Solomon. I can’t even imagine. I often try to put myself in his position, and I know the struggle that he’s going through.”

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“Solomon is very aware that the struggle is real, that it’s something he deals with every day,” Lynch added. “But, also, he needs to find a way to come and be the best he can be at his job.” Thomas powered through the experience, before enduring a tough 2020. He only made two appearances for the 49ers and is currently an injured reserve. You have to feel for him.

2. Mitchell Trubisky

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So, how did the second pick fare in comparison? Well, Mitchell Trubisky arrived at the Chicago Bears off the back of his performances in North Carolina, where he played as a quarterback. And it’s fair to say that he didn’t have the greatest of starts in the NFL.

During Trubisky’s debut campaign in 2017, he only registered seven passing touchdowns and gained close to 2,200 passing yards. Sure, the quarterback didn’t play in all of the Bears’ games that year, but he still faced plenty of criticism. So how did he respond? Simple – he tore it up the following season!

Yes, Trubisky recorded 24 passing touchdowns in 2018, while also racking up well over 3,000 passing yards. An incredible improvement! On top of that, the quarterback completed around two-thirds of his passes, too. He followed that up with another good season, though 2020 was a little tougher. In total, he only made ten appearances that term.

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1. Myles Garrett

So that brings us to the top pick. The man who was chosen above everyone else – including Mahomes. His name’s Myles Garrett, and prior to the 2017 draft he was playing college football at Texas A&M. Garrett’s displays as a defensive end earned him a big move to the Cleveland Browns.

And it’s fair to say that Garrett made a promising start. You see, in his ten appearances during the 2017 season, the defensive end notched up 19 solo tackles and registered 18 quarterback hits. Then, his numbers got even better the following year, as he really showed the Browns’ fans what he was capable of.

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Garrett’s performances in 2020 were just as good, with him making 33 solo tackles that term. Plus, he was also responsible for four forced fumbles – the best numbers in his career to date. Sure, he might not be as glamorous a player as Mahomes, and he’s yet to appear in a Super Bowl. But the defensive end has undoubtedly been a solid addition to the Browns team.

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