FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Brandon Marshall’s eyes widened and his smile expanded, just the way they did when opponents were foolish enough to play single coverage against the former Pro Bowl wide receiver.
The subject thrown at Marshall this time was Kellen Mond, the Texas A&M quarterback and one of his star pupils at the recent House of Athlete combine.
“Owwww, that’s a player right there,” Marshall said. “That’s a dude. There’s a lot of quarterbacks that people are talking about [in the draft] — there’s obviously the big two or big three at the top and a couple of other guys — but this is a dude that is solid.”
Mond has been largely regarded as a second-day pick after a sterling career in College Station, where, as a four-year starter, he improved every season, culminating in a 9-1 campaign in 2020 that left the Aggies just outside the playoffs.
A 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pounder with exceptional arm talent, Mond has nifty athleticism that makes him one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in a QB-rich draft. He played for Jimbo Fisher, a stern taskmaster when it comes to quarterback play, and ran a complex Aggie offense that has him poised to thrive at the next level.
Mond’s pocket presence has consistently improved and he’s learned to become a more patient player. Earlier in his career, he had a tendency to zip through his reads too quickly and rush the ball out before allowing his playmakers to gain separation. This led to incompletions and interceptions.
As a senior, Mond was more efficient in his reads and cut down on his hurried throws and mistakes, throwing 19 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.
Mond flashes a quick release and natural throwing motion. He can stand tall and deliver the ball from the pocket, but he also can throw on the run — and he threw a couple of nifty off-platform tosses (the new trendy term for rollouts, both designed and improvised) during his pro day.
Mond has a wide, muscular frame, runs well, and can deliver a blow at the end of plays; he will not shy from contact.
He credited film work with helping him become a more proficient player.
“I think the two people that I’ve watched the most this past offseason were Drew Brees and Tom Brady,” he said. “Just studying their feet and how they move in the pocket and able to create extra time by less slight movements in the pocket. I think that’s something that they do tremendously.
“And being able to protect the ball and lower their number of sacks. So that’s something that I studied throughout my offseason and I saw it translate to the field. So, two of the best that have ever done it.”
His stock soared further at the Senior Bowl when he shook off a couple of shaky practices and shined in the game, earning MVP honors after throwing for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
He called his week in Mobile, Ala., “huge” and he relished the opportunity to compete against some of this class’s top quarterbacks.
Mond met with Patriots officials at the Senior Bowl and has kept in touch with the club throughout the offseason, exchanging the occasional text with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
“We’ve got to set up some type of meeting,” Mond said. “They’re starting to do formal meetings, like interview-style.
“Senior Bowl, it was more very formal, like, ‘Hello Kellen Mond, tell me about you.’ And then now it’s gotten more deeper into football. So that should be good.”
Mond figures to be a second-day selection, which could set up well for the Patriots, who hold the No. 15 pick overall and don’t figure to be players for the top five quarterbacks.
At least one NFL veteran believes Mond will be a big hit at the next level.
“I think he’s the sleeper of the draft, and I’m not just saying that,” said former Browns coach Hue Jackson, who worked with Mond at the HOA combine. “I really feel that way.
“There’s not a throw that he can’t make. He has a very talented arm, he’s uber-intelligent. He has poise. He’s played in the SEC. He’s played for Jimbo Fisher, who I think has done a great job with quarterbacks. He has knowledge of the game and I think he’s going to really play well in the National Football League.”
Could he be a fit in New England?
“Absolutely,” said Jackson. “There’s not a style that he can’t adapt to, because he has athleticism and he’s very intelligent and he has an unbelievable arm.”
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