Jordan Love entered the NFL combine, in many people's eyes, as the fourth-best quarterback prospect in this year's draft. But after an impressive week of interviews, measurements and on-field workouts, Love left Indianapolis having improved his draft stock while -- -- jumping over Justin Herbert as the third-best quarterback in the draft, behind Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa.
Love's combine was so impressive that an anonymous NFL coach, according to NFL Network's Kimberley Jones, called him "a poor man's Patrick Mahomes," the 2018 league and reigning Super Bowl MVP. Another evaluator was impressed with Love's demeanor while comparing him to Josh Allen, who, in his first year as a full-time starter, led the Bills to a 10-6 record and AFC playoff berth.
There are tangible comparisons one can make between Love and Mahomes. They're similar in size, with the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Love being slightly taller than Mahomes, who checks in 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds. Their combine results are also similar. Mahomes ran a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash while posting a 30-inch vertical jump and a 114-inch broad jump. Love ran a 4.74 in the 40 while recording a 35.5-inch vertical jump and a 114-inch broad jump.
When comparing their playing styles, both quarterbacks excel at making accurate throws outside the pocket. While neither one is considered a scrambler, Mahomes, and Love possess superior athleticism that enables them to break containment while making throws many other quarterbacks can't. Like Mahomes, Love has displayed remarkable accuracy on his deep ball, one of the traits that will serve him well at the next level.
Also similar to Mahomes, Love will also have to show that he can have similar success in the NFL against far superior defenses. While Mahomes' detractors pointed to Mahomes' success against Big 12 defenses, similar things are being said about Love, who mostly played against Mountain West defenses.
In terms of their similar intangibles, Love has shown similar leadership skills to that of Mahomes, whose ability to will his teammates back from big deficitsall three of the Chiefs' postseason wins. While talent is obviously important, the ability to lead is another key determining factor when looking at how successful a young quarterback can be.
Another intangible is the fact that Love, like Mahomes, isn't the marquee quarterback in his draft class. While Mahomes (the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft) watched as Baker Mayfield and Mitch Trubisky were selected with the first two overall picks, Love is expected to be picked after Burrow and Tagovailoa, who are both being tabbed as top-five picks.
As Mahomes has shown in Kansas City, sometimes, it pays to be the less heralded quarterback in your draft class. Instead of toiling on a bad team, Mahomes served as the missing piece to the Chiefs' championship puzzle. And while Burrow and Tua are destined to land on perennially losing franchises, CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Ryan Wilson has Love going to the Chargers with the sixth overall pick in his post combine mock draft. While the Chargers are coming off a losing season, they are just one year removed from advancing to the second round of the playoffs. In Los Angeles, Love would also be armed with several formidable offensive standouts that include running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler and receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
Regardless of the comparisons, Love is surely looking to carve out his own niche at the next level. But if he achieved success similar to what Mahomes has enjoyed so far, he probably won't complain.