As an athletic, scrambling gunslinger, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes doesn’t share many stylistic similarities with Tom Brady.
But Mahomes, whose Chiefs will visit Brady’s New England Patriots this Sunday night at Gillette Stadium, actually modeled parts of his game after the 41-year-old signal-caller during his college career at Texas Tech.
“I actually watched Tom Brady a good amount in college,” Mahomes said Wednesday in a conference call with New England reporters. “My coach in college was Kliff Kingsbury, and he actually was a backup for Brady at one point. So he showed me things that he liked with Tom and his pocket movements and stuff he did within the pocket that I tried to put in my game a little bit.
“He’s someone that’s had a ton of success in this league and someone that you do take stuff from.”
Mahomes has great respect for Brady’s pocket presence, which allows the Patriots QB to evade rushers despite his lack of natural athleticism.
“Just the way he can move within the pocket and still find lanes to throw the ball is something that’s truly special,” Mahomes said. “I try to do that, but you have to keep working on that. He’s done that his whole entire career, and it’s something that has bought him a lot of extra time in the pocket to make a lot of great throws.”
While Brady does his best work in the pocket, Mahomes has been superb outside of it this season. An NFL-high 23.3 percent of his pass attempts have come outside the tackle box, and 22.2 percent have come on the run, according to NFL Research.
During a come-from-behind win over the Denver Broncos in Week 4, 192 of Mahomes’ 304 passing yards came on throws made outside the pocket.
Like Brady, Mahomes hardly saw the field as a rookie, starting just one game last season as he learned behind veteran Alex Smith. Now, the 2017 first-round pick is an early MVP candidate, leading the league with 14 touchdown passes and guiding the Chiefs to 5-0 start.