Could Smith be the bridge QB for Washington's version of Mahomes? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Before you say it, no. The Washington Football Team should not expect to get the next Patrick Mahomes in the 2021 NFL Draft. It's likely we won't see another prospect like Mahomes ever again.
But can they handle their quarterback situation the same way the Chiefs did when Mahomes sat for a year? If they want to go that route, they could have the same bridge quarterback Kansas City did three years ago.
During an appearance on The Sports Junkies, former Buccaneers, Raiders and a slew of other teams' quarterback Bruce Gradkowski weighed in on Alex Smith's future in Washington and floated a scenario that could net the 36-year-old another season as a starting quarterback.
"I love Alex Smith, I love his story, but I think if you're Washington you're in the [QB] market again," Gradkowski said. "You have to figure out the quarterback position. Can Alex Smith get them through this time until they find their guy? Yes, absolutely like he did for Patrick Mahomes, but they have to find their future there in Washington and that's still to be seen."
In 2017, the Chiefs traded up to select Patrick Mahomes, a talented, yet unknown commodity in his draft class. With Smith supplanted as the starter, the Chiefs sat Mahomes for a full season, allowing him to learn the system and observe Smith's preparation week-to-week.
Once that season was over and it was time for Mahomes to take the reigns, the Chiefs traded Smith to Washington. Mahomes went on to win the MVP award in his first year as a starter and then a Super Bowl championship in Year 2.
It'd be hard to expect that from anyone Washington could draft next spring, though it's not the worst process to try and replicate even if the results may not be as grand early on.
However, the league has changed in the short time since Mahomes was Smith's backup. Teams are playing their young quarterbacks earlier so they can pivot and get another talented passer while they can.
"You see these young quarterbacks out there playing because you have to know if you have your guy or not, and if he's not, you're in the market each and every year."
Whether Washington goes with the Chiefs' route, what the Cardinals and Bengals have done with Kyler Murray and Joe Burrow or decide to be active in the free-agent market, they have no shortage of options.
For more interviews, tune into Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington, weekdays from 6-10 a.m.