Tyreek Hill's first season without the extraordinary talents of Patrick Mahomes will be very informative insofar as how effective the blazing wideout can be without a QB who can throw the ball a country mile. Tua Tagovailoa has many positive traits but arm strength is... not one of them, we'll say. Hill's speed is dangerous no matter where he's running on the field but there will be still be a notable lack of 60-yard bombs in Miami next year.
In other Hill-related developments, the receiver has launched his own podcast and released the first episode last night. There was a lot of interesting stuff in there about his divorce from Kansas City and the issues he felt plagued him in their offense last season, but the buzzy clip that's getting people going is Hill proclaiming he'd take Tua over Mahomes in terms of accuracy.
That's quite a statement! Let's check the numbers, shall we?
Mahomes has a career completion percentage of 66.1, while Tagovailoa checks in at 66.2. That's a push. But we of course need to take into account that Tagovailoa has all of 21 starts under his belt while Mahomes has exactly triple that number. So let's look at recent history. Last season, Mahomes completed 66.3 percent of his passes (tied for his career high) on 658 attempts. Tagovailoa completed 67.8 percent of his passes but only on 388 attempts.
Those numbers suggest it isn't actually as crazy a thing to say as it seems on the surface. Nobody thinks Mahomes is worse than Tagovailoa. But the pair's calling cards are different. Mahomes has a rocket arm and can fit a pass into any window but has a tendency to force the issue as a result. Tagovailoa avoids those tight windows to a fault, which leads him to completing more easy passes that have a lesser impact than Mahomes' boom-or-bust attempts.
It does feel like Hill is going to quickly learn the difference between Mahomes' accuracy and Tagovailoa's. Tagovailoa is less prone to airmailing an easy path on a crossing route six yards from the line of scrimmage, but he hasn't yet shown the ability to hit his receiver in stride on a 20-yard in-route with not a lot of room for error. Hitting or missing those attempts changes the completion percentage but are far different in terms of how the win probability will rise or fall.
Conceptually, accuracy is important and Hill isn't really wrong to say this, even if he's probably just gassing up his new QB. But all that matters in the NFL is being accurate when it counts. Mahomes proved time and time again he could be. The question is if Tagovailoa can show the same talent.