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Kellen Mond reportedly on Patriots’ draft radar

Will the New England Patriots target Kellen Mond in the second round, or might they need to trade back into the first to acquire the rising QB prospect?

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond appears to have caught the eye of the New England Patriots as they gear up for the 2021 NFL Draft. Whether or not that results in Bill Belichick taking Mond is unclear, but the hype around the Aggies signal-caller is growing.

According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, the Patriots could target Mond in Round 2, but Pauline also acknowledged that New England also has designs of moving up the board on Day 1.

“I absolutely think they would like to take a QB in Round 1, either by moving up a few slots or seeing if somehow one of the top five falls to them,” Pauline said. “Kellen Mond is a quarterback I could see the Patriots selecting on Day 2.”

Where there’s smoke, there’s probably fire. Based on the skill set of projected Patriots starter Cam Newton and the background Mond has from his time in College Station, Mond to the Pats makes a lot of sense.

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Mond is a pro-style quarterback with a four-year starting resume at an SEC program, where he was within one spot of the College Football Playoff last season and showed marked improvement throughout his career. Among the second tier of QB prospects, Mond may be the best.

Thus, given the innate premium placed on quarterbacks, it’s a bit of a stretch to say Mond will still be on the board when New England goes on the clock in Round 2 at 46th overall.

In Sportsnaut’s draft big board of top 100 prospects, Mond checks in at No. 52. Even though that’s a ranking reflective of late second-round status, again, the position Mond plays is going to inevitably inflate his stock.

With an early run on quarterbacks expected, you can bet teams in the market for a signal-caller will be doing what they can to move up.

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Why Kellen Mond is Patriots’ most logical QB option in 2021 NFL Draft

Why Kellen Mond is Patriots' most logical QB option in 2021 NFL Draft
Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the field before their playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

After a hyper-aggressive free agency period, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see New England kick in lots of draft capital to ascend from 15th overall and take a quarterback earlier in the first round.

Here’s the problem with that: The Patriots will only be able to go as high as fourth overall in a hypothetical trade with the Atlanta Falcons, and they might not be willing to drop so far without an insane haul of picks.

That means New England will, at best, have a crack at the fourth QB to go off the board. Belichick strikes me as too historically calculated and cost-efficient of a decision-maker to sacrifice lots of draft capital to maybe get high enough to pick the expected QB4 of the 2021 class.

Mond’s game experience is vastly superior to that of Trey Lance and Mac Jones, who started only one full season apiece in college. Lance has ridiculous upside, yet is a huge projection, and Jones isn’t the type of athlete that the dual-threat Mond is.

As the NFL moves more towards QBs who can scamper, Mond has the mix of athleticism, arm talent, football IQ and experience that seems to make him a perfect match for the Pats.

Plus, with Mond, New England would still have flexibility in 2022 if it wants to move off Newton in favor of reuniting with Jimmy Garoppolo. That way, a promising passer is waiting in the wings as Jimmy G tries to assert himself as Tom Brady‘s long-term successor.

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