In the weeks leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, NESN.com will be taking a closer look at this year’s quarterback class and how each player could fit with the New England Patriots. Next up: Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
6-foot-2 5/8, 211 pounds, 9 3/8-inch hands
Projected round: Second-third round
2020 stats: 63.3 percent (188-for-297), 2,282 yards, 19 touchdowns, three interceptions, 7.7 yards per attempt; 75 carries, 334 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns (10 games)
Strengths: Arm strength, mobility in pocket, fearlessness, ability to throw on the move
Weaknesses: Accuracy, slender frame, pure rushing ability
Testing numbers: 4.62-second 40-yard dash, 1.64-second 10-yard split (no other testing — choice)
Analysis: Mond is somewhat of a divisive prospect in this year’s quarterback draft class. NBC Sports’ Chris Simms believes he’s better than consensus first-round prospects Justin Fields and Trey Lance. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler and PFF both gave him a fourth-round grade. He ranks 97th on Arif Hasan of The Athletic’s consensus big board.
Expect Mond to be taken somewhere in the 45-to-70 range. So, in order for the Patriots to land him, they’d probably either need to pick the former Aggies QB at No. 46 overall or move up from No. 96 overall.
If New England misses out on the top QB prospects (Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Fields, Lance and Mac Jones), Mond probably has the highest upside out of the rest of the quarterback crop.
Mond is a lanky, laser-armed quarterback with a quick release and 4.6-second 40-yard dash speed. He’s a bit of a paradox in that he’s fearless and will take chances on tight-window throws but also was adept at avoiding turnovers. He can maneuver the pocket well, only took eight sacks in 2020 and throws well on the move. He’s not afraid to throw a strike with a defender in his face.
The 21-year-old is the least accurate of the top quarterbacks, however. He’s a good athlete but never looked like a natural runner and struggled to make defenders miss. He’s also really slender at nearly 6-foot-3, 211 pounds.
The Texas A&M product is definitely a less accurate passer than Lawrence, Wilson, Fields and Jones, but he also was forced to make difficult throws with regularity. He had some decent weapons around him at Texas A&M last season, but leading receivers Ainias Smith, a running back/wide receiver hybrid, and tight end Jalen Wydermyer are still a year away from becoming draft-eligible, and his top target from 2019, Jhamon Ausbon, opted out for the 2020 season. Aggies pass-catchers weren’t getting wide open with the same consistency as Alabama wideouts DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, for example. Mond also had a higher receiver drop rate than Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Jones and Lance.
Mond didn’t impress from an advanced statistics perspective in 2020. He ranked last among the top 13 quarterback prospects in metrics we devised combining accuracy, average depth of target and turnover-worthy play rate, and accuracy plus depth of target.
Mond ranked 12th in PFF’s adjusted completion percentage metric (70.83 percent), seventh in average depth of target (9.38 yards) and eighth in turnover-worthy play rate (2.48 percent). The 21-year-old passer only threw three interceptions as a senior for a 1.01 interception rate (fifth). One of those picks deflected off of a receiver’s body and another was pretty clearly due to miscommunication with a receiver. The third was a misfire.
While Lawrence and Jones saw more than half of their yardage come after the catch, Mond’s air yard rate was 57.32 percent (sixth).
NFL teams are demanding more athleticism out of their quarterbacks, and Mond can definitely move. He was not, however, an overly impressive ball-carrier. He ranked tied for last with Wilson among nine qualified QBs (Fields, Lance, Lawrence, Jamie Newman, Sam Ehlinger, Feleipe Frank and Ian Book) in missed tackles forced per rushing attempt. He also ranked last in yards after contact per attempt (1.33), seventh in percentage of carries resulting in a first down or touchdown (32 percent) and seventh in yards per carry (excluding sacks; 4.45 yards per carry).
Mond is certainly more mobile than Jones, Trask, Mills and Buechele, but with his overall athleticism, it was surprising to see the San Antonio native rank so low among his other contemporaries.
The Patriots haven’t demanded elite accuracy or scrambling ability out of their quarterbacks in the past. Mond completed 63.3 percent of his passes as a senior. That was a higher rate than the last three quarterbacks drafted by the Patriots in their final college seasons: Jarrett Stidham (60.7 percent), Danny Etling (60 percent), Jacoby Brissett (60 percent).
The Patriots seemingly do value experience at the quarterback position, and Mond has plenty as a four-year starter. He never elevated to full-time captain status, however. Right tackle Carson Green was Texas A&M’s offensive captain in 2020. Ausbon was the Aggies’ team captain in 2019.
Mond, to us, certainly seems a precipitous step below the top tier of quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see where he comes off the board in relation to Mills and Trask, but there’s a pretty obvious dividing line, at this point in their development, between the top five and the rest of this year’s quarterback prospects.
Mond could certainly improve in the NFL, as well. He’s been knocked for a lack of progression throughout his college career, and while it’s true he didn’t necessarily “break out” in 2020, he did play marginally better than his 2019 campaign.
NFL teams must decide if Mond is what he is or if they believe he can take another leap forward in the NFL. With his combination of mobility, arm strength and quick decision-making, we believe Mond still carries plenty of potential for the team that selects him next week.