Over the past several months, the New England Patriots have been mentioned in almost every national conversation when it comes to the QB prospects in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Fans and analysts alike have been going crazy theorizing how the Patriots are going to land one of the elite college QBs like Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones. However, the QB I believe New England SHOULD land is Kellen Mond, quarterback of the Texas A&M Aggies.
Allow me to start off by saying that I don’t believe Kellen Mond is necessarily the “safest” QB available. I also do not necessarily think he has the highest ceiling of the available quarterback prospects. Regardless of this, I believe he is by far the best “bang for your buck” QB in this class.
Whether it be the price to get him, or the talent he possesses, Mond is extremely valuable. Here are some of the reasons I believe he is the ideal quarterback match for New England in the draft.
Price of Admission
Let’s face facts, if New England wants one of the top five guys on the board at the position, they are going to have to part with some assets to do it.
Trading into the top 10 is the only way the Patriots will have a shot at one of the top guys. If most draft analysts are to be believed, by the time Atlanta’s 4th overall pick is up, three of those five top signal callers will be gone. They will most likely need to acquire either the 4th pick from Atlanta or the 7th pick from Detroit to have a shot.
Keep in mind, San Francisco traded up from the 12th pick to acquire Miami’s 3rd pick, and it cost a king’s ransom for the Niners to do so.
To move up from the 15th pick into the top 10 would also likely cost the Patriots a great deal. Mortgaging one or two future first round picks for an unproven rookie may not be the smartest move. Although guys like Lance and Jones have great potential, they also have their share of flaws. New England doesn’t have the youngest roster in the league, and will need those picks to replace the aging talent on the defense. If they take one of these quarterbacks and they end up being a dud, it could set New England back for many years.
This is not at all a problem when talking about Kellen Mond. Most analysts have him pegged as a Day 2 pick, falling somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round. New England could easily use the 46th pick and select Mond in the 2nd round. Waiting for him to drop to 96 is risky, but possible as well.
Taking Mond on Day 2 prevents New England from giving up a bounty of future draft assets for a prospect. It also allows them to use the 15th pick on one of the many defensive prospects that could slide. Jaycee Horn, Micah Parsons, Caleb Farley, Kwity Paye, and Jamin Davis could be available there.
Kellen Mond has a big arm to say the least. Compared to the rest of his class, he is one of the more impressive deep ball throwers available.
If you watch his college film, he consistently threw impressive dimes to his receivers. Part of the reason for this deep ball ability is his solid athletic build. Mond makes pushing the ball down field look easy at times.
His athletic build also allows him to be a dual threat. He is not anywhere like a Lamar Jackson or even today’s Cam Newton, but he has the ability to move around in the pocket and scramble out when he needs to.
Mond recorded 22 rushing TDs and 1,609 rushing yards in his Aggie career. I personally would compare his mobility to the likes of Carson Wentz. No one mistakes Wentz for a runner, but he can move when he has to.
Mond is also great when it comes to his ability to make difficult off-balance throws and throws on the run. This TD to Christian Kirk in 2017 highlights this playmaking ability.
Fit In New England
Another reason why I believe his a great choice is because he would be a perfect fit in Foxboro.
For starters, there is no pressure on him to start right away. Cam Newton is back for another season under center and this would allow Mond to sit the year and learn the offense. He would have plenty of time to get comfortable with the culture and learn the playbook.
He would also get to learn from Cam Newton for at least a year. Say what you will about his time as a Patriot, but Newton is a former MVP. He is only a few years removed from being one of the league’s best at the position. Mond picking Newton’s brain for a year wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Another thing is they could implement him into the current offense without making too many changes. The transition from Brady to Newton was difficult, and the offense had to evolve and adapt quickly. Their styles were drastically different. This is not entirely the case with Mond and Newton. Mond is, again, not nearly the runner Newton is. Despite this, he is mobile and athletic enough. I believe he would still work in this offense.
Especially when it comes to RPO’s and play action passes, I believe Mond could thrive in New England. It is worth mentioning that Mond did play in a pro style offense at A&M, which gives him a big advantage. He also played in the SEC, which means he faced his fair share of stiff competition. He did not have anything close to the offensive weapons that Fields and Jones had, yet A&M was right on the cusp of the College Football Playoff. This was mostly a result of Mond’s stellar play.
Kellen Mond presents an enormous amount of potential for a Day 2 pick. This may sound cheesy, but I do believe he posses similar characteristics to that of Patrick Mahomes. That doesn’t mean he will reach that level, but who knows. Sitting him behind Newton the same way Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith could be beneficial.
Does Mond have flaws? Absolutely. Remember earlier when I compared him to Carson Wentz? He also shares some of Wentz’s negative traits. Mond can sometimes hold onto the ball too long trying to make plays when they aren’t there. He tends to force the ball trying to make something happen, and it doesn’t always end well. He also has a habit of running around a bit too much trying to extend the play. Similar to Wentz, this leaves the door open for fumbles.
I’ll take his flaws considering the price to get him. Trey Lance and Mac Jones might be safer, but how much safer really? I would much rather take a flier on Mond, and take someone like Horn or Parsons at 15 if they are there. Mond is a project pick, but an inexpensive one. He possesses the talent to be great in the NFL.
He passes the eye test and his numbers are impressive. With the right coach and system (i.e. New England), he could turn into something special.
Also worth noting that the last time the Patriots took a QB in the 2nd round, it was Jimmy Garoppolo. He turned out to be a pretty good.
Photo: (Jasen Vinlove – USA Today Sports)