Throughout my entire life, the Minnesota Vikings have only taken getting a franchise quarterback seriously once. In 1999, Dennis Green traded QB Brad Johnson to Washington for a 1st and 3rd round pick in 1999 and a 2nd round pick in 2000. He used that first-round pick to take Daunte Culpepper. While his tenure wasn’t the most successful when it comes to wins, that wasn’t all on Daunte. The Vikings over those years had historically bad defenses and he played hero ball the entire time and overcompensated. Outside of that and the picks of Ponder and Bridgewater, who I don’t believe the Vikings ever saw as true franchise quarterbacks, it has been a slew of random guys at the position. From Sean Salisbury to Brett Favre, the position has been filled more with stop gap players the franchise chose to plug in while building the rest of the team.
In this instance, Kellen Mond is no different. A former 5-star recruit from IMG Academy out of Florida, Mond was the #1 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the nation and chose to go down to College Station. Throughout his illustrious career, Mond didn’t quite live up to the top billing of being a top recruit, but he did start 44/47 career games and nearly led Texas A&M to the college football playoff this year. Below are his stats per College Football Reference.
When you look at the stats as a whole, one thing stands out: improvement. He progressed every year with accuracy and turnovers. Once Jimbo Fischer got onto campus, the development progressed well, but I expected more with the track record he has as a developer. The film, however, paints the full picture. As we begin the breakdown of Kellen Mond, lets start with the positives with clips to emphasize each point.
One thing that is evident the second you turn on the tape is how good Kellen Mond’s arm is.
No matter what the situation is, Mond has the ability and confidence to make every throw regardless of situation. In this clip, he makes a perfect throw without having his feet to help him out. When you take a chance on a quarterback, you want to take one with the plus traits that Mond possesses.
Confidence In The Pocket
One of the stats that stands out is how good Kellen Mond was with a clean pocket. He produced a 90.1 PFF grade from a clean pocket against only high end competition in the SEC and North Carolina. While you expect your quarterback to be good from a clean pocket, it’s still good to see the numbers come out that high. When Mond has a clean pocket, his inconsistent mechanics are at their best.
Mond drops back smooth, reads the defense quickly, and fires a bullet to the receiver on the slant. The intrigue with this specific play is that the potential is there to be really good with consistency.
When it comes to reading the defense, Mond has some inconsistencies, but he shows the ability to make good decisions. This throw is a prime example of what he will have to do at the next level. He looks the safety off just enough to get him to jump the inside receiver running the corner route to open up the post route for a big gain. With the Vikings wide zone system asking him to read the defense and needing receivers to clear windows across the field, the ability to process will be key to unlocking his true potential.
Another prime example of Kellen Mond making a great decision in the pocket. It also shows the mentality that the Vikings haven’t had since Brett Favre in 2010: a controlled reckless abandon. Mond has the cohunes to make the tight window throws with zip. As he continues to grow and develop, you can’t teach this mentality.
While there are a lot of good qualities and traits about Kellen Mond, there is a reason why he was still available in round 3. While his stats improved over the course of his time at Texas A&M, some of his issues never progressed the way you would have liked. Let’s take a look at some of his issues
Lack of Fluidity/Stiffness
If you’ve ever played the Backyard Football games, you know who Mr. Clanky is. The robot coach from the games, epitomizes Kellen Mond’s biggest issue: stiffness. Robots are known for their stiff and clunky movements and Mond exemplifies this to a T.
Whenever Mond takes a drop back, he looks like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz that hasn’t had his joints oiled up in ages. Mond needs to take some Yoga classes and increase his flexibility. Once Mond becomes a little more relaxed and loose on the field, his movements will become more consistent and less robotic.
These plays happen far too often with Kellen Mond. He lets his footwork get out of control and doesn’t wait for them to catch up to his arm. In the above clip, he sees the throw but his feet are chaotic. Mond has the arm talent to be able to overcome the poor footwork at times, but he relies too much on his arm to compensate.
Lack Of Patience
One of the people I respect the most in the industry Jordan Reid said it best.
“The best way to describe Kellen Mond is that he is consistently inconsistent.”
The above play is really frustrating from Kellen Mond. He has a wide open receiver on a dagger concept, but doesn’t have enough trust to see it through, panics and bails the pocket.
This one is a tad different from the first one. Mond doesn’t panic in the pocket, but he also doesn’t have the confidence to let the corner route develop. The play is right there for him to make but he takes the check down without taking the time to let it come open. With his development, he has to learn to consistently trust his weapons and what he sees on the field.
Struggles Getting Past His First Read
While this isn’t something that stays consistent across his film, Mond does struggle getting off of his initial read and stares him down to boot.
Mond staring down the receiver gives the defensive back the opportunity to jump the route and take it for a score. While it isn’t the only issue on this play (ball placement likely saves an interception), if he looks off the corner, he can fit the out route in with little to no issues.
The frustration is real here. While its great that he looks backside on the bootleg, what he fails to do is come back to the frontside and see the tight end about to come free. Former NFL quarterback Jim Everett believes this failure is based in the play design and he will be just fine in the pros.
Overall, Kellen Mond is an interesting projection. He has a lot of intriguing tools, especially compared to the other second-tier quarterbacks in Davis Mills and Kyle Trask. What he doesn’t have is the mechanics to thrive in the NFL, Klint Kubiak has the time to groom him as a potential replacement for Kirk Cousins. Whether or not the decision to draft Mond works out, it’s excellent process by Rick Spielman and the Vikings.
Its no secret that I wasn’t high at all on Kellen Mond throughout the pre draft process. Once the Vikings selected him, I was initially disappointed in the selection with Davis Mills on the board. The last couple of days, I finally was able to dive into the film and I came away really impressed with what I saw. If the Vikings can fix his mechanics, there is something there. I am excited to see him come along.
|Grade||78/100 Third Rounder|