In today’s NFL, there is more of a premium on securing a franchise quarterback than there ever has been. Just last week, we saw the Kansas City Chiefs ink Patrick Mahomes to a record-setting ten-year contract extension. The 2021 NFL Draft will offer some lucky NFL teams the opportunity to find their franchise quarterback.
You won’t find anyone who covers the NFL Draft that doesn’t have Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance as the top-three QB prospects for the 2021 draft. After those players, the quality at the position drastically declines, with the likes of Georgia’s Jamie Newman and Iowa State’s Brock Purdy coming next. However, two 2021 QB sleepers, Kellen Mond and Tanner Morgan, also deserve attention.
Ironically, two players couldn’t have more contrasting styles than Mond and Morgan. Kellen Mond tends to be a dual-threat quarterback, while Tanner Morgan is more of a pro-style pocket passer. Which 2021 QB sleeper will be a more coveted draft prospect in April?
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M, Senior (6’3″, 217 pounds)
Kellen Mond enters his senior season with 34 starts under his belt. He is coming off of a junior season in which he threw for 2,897 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Mond, an effective dual-threat player at the quarterback position, was also able to add 501 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground.
What is there to like about Kellen Mond?
In the short and intermediate passing game, Mond is brilliant, possessing the ability to throw with zip and anticipation. He is at his best when throwing on the run, as he is able to maintain his poise and progress through his reads while buying time on the move. Speaking of operating on the move, Mond’s ability to create yards with his feet is exceptional.
You can’t deny the value Mond brings as a dual-threat quarterback. The clip below will showcase his ability to make game-changing plays with his ability to run the football.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 28, 2019
What are the red flags with Kellen Mond?
When you apply the eyeball test, the first thing you notice is Mond’s slim build. Taking his playing style into consideration, there have to be durability concerns surrounding Mond at the next level. Also, inconsistent mechanics rear when watching film on Mond, which leads to inharmonious accuracy.
Pro Football Network’s Nick Farabaugh has some concerns on Mond’s ability to run through his progressions, stating that “he misses reads and goes through his progressions slowly, panics when threatened with pressure in the pocket, and overall needs to overhaul his processing.” These are areas where Mond must improve prior to next year’s NFL Draft in order to validate himself as a potential franchise signal-caller.
Kellen Mond headlines the list of 2021 QB sleepers due to his playmaking ability. While he is far from a finished product, he possesses a tool-belt which makes him dangerous as a passer and as a runner. He hasn’t reached his full potential as a passer, but NFL coaching will really help him reach his potential. As it stands today, I have a Round 3 grade on Mond.
Tanner Morgan, Minnesota, Redshirt Junior (6’2″, 215 pounds)
Tanner Morgan is coming off of a brilliant 2019 season, in which he threw for 3,253 yards, 30 touchdowns, and mere 7 interceptions. During his tenure at the University of Minnesota, Morgan has had a 3:1 TD-to-interception ratio, throwing 39 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
What is there to like about Tanner Morgan?
Morgan is a talented passer providing impressive arm strength, a lightning-quick release, and the ability to throw with touch and accuracy. Unlike Mond, Morgan is a technician at the position, showcasing strong footwork and a natural delivery.
It’s worth noting that while Morgan’s strong-suit isn’t throwing on the run, he does possess the athleticism to keep plays alive by maneuvering in the pocket. One area where Morgan excels as a passer is his ball placement. The clip below highlights Morgan’s ability to put the ball where he wants it.
Tanner Morgan Dimes pic.twitter.com/J1Rgnlmgxo
— Mostly Always (@Mostly_Always) June 22, 2020
What are the red flags with Tanner Morgan?
At times, Tanner Morgan will get flustered due to pressure in the pocket and make erratic throws. Also, you can’t deny the average physical traits that Morgan brings to the table. He is an average athlete and doesn’t possess the desired height for the position by any means.
Will Morgan be able to achieve the same level of success in 2020 as he experienced in his breakout 2019 campaign? That question remains to be answered, but Morgan is a smart football player, who has plus traits as a passer and showcases strong fundamentals at the position. As of right now, he is a Day 2 prospect, due to a limited ceiling at the next level.
When it comes to the battle between these two 2021 QB sleepers, my vote goes to Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond as the more intriguing draft prospect. Morgan seems to be the safer pick. But in a modern-day NFL where we have seen the likes of Lamar Jackson excel by making plays with his legs and succeeding in the short-to-intermediate passing game, Mond is an exciting prospect.
Also, unlike Morgan, Mond isn’t lucky enough to have a superstar wide receiver like Rashod Bateman at his disposal. Albeit having anything but a cupcake schedule, Morgan didn’t play the same level of competition as Mond. In 2019, Mond had to face the elite defenses of college football, a group consisting of Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, and LSU. Mond is more battle-tested and presents more upside, so pencil me in as someone who views Kellen Mond as the biggest 2021 QB sleeper.