Not even the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, who gave the green light to trade up last year and select Patrick Mahomes 10th overall, expected his young quarterback to succeed this quickly.
During his midseason discussion with reporters, Clark Hunt said Monday that Mahomes has defied the expectations of the entire draft room that night.
That includes then-general manager John Dorsey, current GM Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid, who has been instrumental in his progress.
"I think there was a big question mark in all our minds coming into the year with the transition at quarterback," Hunt said. "We knew that Patrick was very talented, but any time an NFL team goes with a young quarterback it's a very challenging endeavor.
"As we've seen, we've had Patrick ready since Week 1 and he's played outstanding, perhaps at an MVP-caliber the first eight weeks, and the credit really goes to Andy and his staff."
Mahomes spent last season learning the ropes under Alex Smith, but he was turned loose when the Chiefs traded their Pro Bowl quarterback to the Washington Redskins this past offseason.
Mahomes has responded by leading the Chiefs to a 7-1 record and first place in the AFC. He's on a run of seven straight 300-yard passing games to obliterate the franchise record, and already he has six games with a passer rating of 100-plus — the fifth most in a single season in Chiefs history.
And lest anyone miss Smith, consider this fact: Mahomes already has 25 touchdown passes this season, matching what his predecessor accomplished all of last season.
"Patrick got off to a very good start in Week 1, and you know, everybody — me included — was pretty excited about his performance. But was that a one-time example of his talent or something that is going to be consistent?" Hunt said. "He's shown it every week and built on it."
Mahomes' latest dazzling performance came Sunday against Denver, when he threw for 303 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw six touchdown passes in a game earlier this season.
"He also has excellent leadership abilities," Reid said. "We've seen that this year, it's very, very challenging for a young quarterback at 22, 23 years old to step into an NFL locker room and almost overnight become one of the leaders of the team. And he's done that."
Hunt addressed several other topics Monday. Among them:
Hunt said he has a hard time believing the Chiefs will make any moves ahead of this week's trade deadline, and he would be particularly reticent to deal away a first-round pick.
"I value those picks very highly, as do Brett and Andy," Hunt said. "It's not a light decision to trade away a pick, especially a first-round pick. Obviously in hindsight the decision to trade up to take Patrick, even though it cost us a first-round pick, was a great decision."
TV ratings are on the rise, and the Patriots-Chiefs game in Week 6 represented a 34 percent increase in viewership over the Giants-Broncos game on the same Sunday night last season.
"There was a lot of concern I think around the league and also from those who follow the NFL about the decrease in ratings two consecutive years and that has turned around, and I'm not sure that was expected," Hunt said.
"I've heard people mention the NFL is more exciting this year, there are a number of high-powered offenses that help drive that. I get it. It's fun to watch our offense play and I think that's really helped ratings not only here in Kansas City but also around the country."
AFC WEST MOVES
Hunt called it too early to tell whether the division-rival Chargers and Raiders made the right decision by moving. The Chargers are playing at StubHub Center in suburban Los Angeles while awaiting their new stadium, while the Raiders are playing at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in anticipation of their move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.
"I don't have a lot of information on how the moves are going in terms of their ticket sales for their new buildings," Hunt said, "and really that's the important thing."
The Chiefs are playing the Rams in Mexico City in a couple of weeks, and Hunt said he thinks the opportunity will help the organization built its fanbase south of the border.
"Any time we have a chance to show the Chiefs on a national, and in this case international, level it's a benefit to the organization," he said. "The great thing about this game is we're not giving up a home game to do it. It's a Rams home game."