The Kellen Mond Experience
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Kellen Mond is a rollercoaster.
There's really no prospect metaphor that rings truer from my lens, and it makes the Kellen Mond experience a lot less thrilling. Mond's performance in the Senior Bowl certainly highlighted the aforementioned metaphor, as well. His first half had me publish a tweet that said "Yeah, Kellen Mond is bad." He then went on to win Senior Bowl MVP, displaying some traits that made you question your evaluation of him. Kellen Mond has certainly entered the national spotlight, as Chris Simms has him ranked ahead of Justin Fields in the 2021 quarterback class. Is Simms' process justifiable? Should Kellen Mond be considered a top five quarterback in this class? Let's dive in.
If Kellen Mond has a single trait that I'd say "wow, you can work with that," it's his live arm. Mond throws with a really good amount of zip to all three levels of the field. His tight window work is impressive, though you can make an argument he really shouldn't be making some of the throws he does (you can make that same argument for every top QB in this class that throws with NFL velocity).
This is one you could argue shouldn't be thrown, but because it's such a laser, we can ignore that for now.
Here's one that has an incredible amount of zip, too, though the angle doesn't lend you to believe that. This is a rocket that gets picked off if there's too much touch. Impressive throw.
Throwing Under Pressure
For the most part, Kellen Mond is impressive when standing in the pocket and taking a hit. He delivers some really good footballs from these instances, and when you couple that with his strong arm, you can definitely understand why someone would get excited watching him (provided, they watched one of his peak games).
Here's one where you'd ideally see the ball out in front, but the ability to get the throw off and on the body is impressive enough.
This one is vastly more impressive, simply because he recognizes the free rusher pre-snap. To stand in there with a guy coming at you untouched is something that not every quarterback in this class would do.
One of Mond's main knocks is his inability to make precise throws. He certainly has hot and cold streaks in this respect; he'll follow an incredible tight-window throw with a 10-yard overthrow. It's one of the most frustrating pieces to Mond's game.
Right idea, just sailed the throw.
You can file this one under footwork, decision-making or placement; for now, I'm tossing it here. I don't have many words, but if you're going to play hero ball, you can't be doing it this poorly.
Speaking of footwork, this is a part of Kellen Mond's game that concerns me. When pockets break down, Kellen's footwork follows.
Yep. Same video. Deal with it.
This one is another example of the pocket and Mond's footwork working in tandem. If he does this in the NFL, it won't always end with an incompletion. I've highlighted in previous quarterback profiles the value of resetting the platform when navigating the pocket; Mond doesn't know what that is.
This is the part of Mond's game that limits his immediate upside, in my opinion. There are too many throws where I ask myself "what is he thinking?" and rewind the film. Whether it's failing to recognize coverage or simply letting go of footballs he has no business letting go of, Mond needs some serious work in the mental aspects of the position.
You can file this under footwork or accuracy again. But I'm questioning why he'd even let this ball go in the direction of that receiver. You should be too.
Here's something I may be able to chalk up to a bad route concept. But launching this ball so recklessly isn't something that Mond will get away with at the next level. He certainly shouldn't have gotten away with it here, either.
People may chalk this up to being an impressive tight-window throw. I chalk this up to a bad decision that likely results in a pick-six at the next level. If not, it results in a PBU. Decisions like these leave me questioning what Mond is looking at. Certainly, this could have been a predetermined read and a function of the offense (A&M didn't do Mond a ton of favors in helping him progress through reads). It could also be a case in which he fails to identify the linebacker that should've gotten to this football.
Metrics that Matter
I've done a ton of work on QBs during this draft cycle, and I highlighted three of the metrics that correlate from college to pro games the best: TD%, Rating, and QBR. You can see some of this work here. The average top-10 quarterback in the NFL posts at least a 7.06% TD%, 153.8 Rating, and 80.0 QBR in college.
Kellen Mond's metrics that matter:
TD% - 6.40%
Rating - 146.9
QBR - 74.9
Could he be an anomaly? Could he be a good quarterback, but not top-ten? Maybe. But analytically, I wouldn't bet on Kellen Mond.
Kellen Mond is a rollercoaster. The Senior Bowl was a perfect display of all that in a single game: awful for one half, great for another. The highs are fairly high, but the lows are certainly low. From my perspective, this particular rollercoaster has more valleys than peaks. His inconsistent footwork, questionable decision-making, and fairly bad placement all outweigh the big arm and the ability to stand in the pocket and deliver a ball while under pressure. Mond certainly is intriguing, and ranking him ahead of a guy like Kyle Trask is respectable. But ranking him ahead of one of the greatest prospects in recent memory certainly presents questions. Mond is no more than a mid-round flier that you hope learns how to read a field and make better decisions. And while there are definitely workable traits, his footwork is incredibly concerning. Convincing myself otherwise would be a strenuous task.
Round Grade: 4th
NFL Projection: High-potential backup