Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton spent much of his career coaching a future Hall of Famer in legendary quarterback Drew Brees. Payton said on Monday that he once hoped the heir apparent to Brees would be another future Hall of Famer: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Payton gushed about Mahomes and said he reminded him of Brett Favre during his pre-draft evaluations. Payton said the Saints were poised to take him with the 11th pick in the 2017 draft before the Chiefs traded up to the 10th spot to select him.
Herd w/Colin Cowherd @TheHerd
"We're going right to the plane. Nobody knows we were here... That's our next quarterback." <br><br>— <a href="https://twitter.com/SeanPayton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SeanPayton</a> details to <a href="https://twitter.com/ColinCowherd?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ColinCowherd</a> how the Saints almost landed Patrick Mahomes <a href="https://t.co/9h5UQQJs91">pic.twitter.com/9h5UQQJs91</a>
Payton explained that he grew enamored with Mahomes after a pre-draft workout he attended with other Saints team officials in Lubbock, Texas. The former Texas Tech star was so impressive that Payton wanted to keep it under wraps that New Orleans had found its quarterback of the future.
"He reminded me of Favre because he had that, not just gunslinger, but he could torque his body and he could create speed on the ball without his feet having to be set, or perfectly set, so some of these off-schedule throws, he was very good at," Payton recalled. "I remember when we finished, I said ... 'Look, we're going right to the plane, we're not stopping, no one knows we're here. That's our next quarterback.'"
Kansas City traded up 17 spots to jump New Orleans and take Mahomes, who went on to become an NFL MVP and Super Bowl champion. The Saints selected cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who was 2017 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and developed into a four-time Pro Bowler.
Payton thinks things worked out for both teams, but he maintains that Mahomes holds a special distinction in his mind.
"Both sides win, but [Mahomes] was the best that I've ever evaluated coming out of college, and there's a gap before the next one," Payton said. "He was that good."
Payton noted that there was just one negative he had in his evaluation of Mahomes.
"I wrote on my report, 'The only thing I don't like with this player, is the squeaky voice,'" he said. "That was it. That's a true story, that's the only thing I didn't like."