What is the outlook for Kellen Mond?

What to expect from Kellen Mond

By: Jake Rajala

The Cleveland Browns recently signed Kellen Mond – who was the Minnesota Vikings 66th overall pick in the 2021 draft. Mond, who may be related to James Bond, is pegged as the Browns fourth-string QB. He stands behind Deshaun Watson, Jacoby Brissett, and Joshua Dobbs. The former UCLA legend & NFL draft bust Josh Rosen was also added to the Browns practice squad.

Due to the Watson 11-game suspension, I believe CLE wants to beef up their QB room. Brissett is in line to be the Week 1 starter. In 2019, he started 15 games for the Indianapolis Colts. He also threw 18 touchdowns (to 4 interceptions), 2,942 passing yards, and held a 60.9 completion percentage.

The Browns temporary QB2, Dobbs, was a Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-round pick in 2017. Dobbs has thrown 10 completions (out of 17 attempts), a 58.8%, and 1 interception in his career. Let’s not forget that he is also a rocket scientist.

I honestly suspect that Mond will be in a constant battle with Dobbs to be the backup to Brissett. Mond is slightly more athletic than Dobbs, but Dobbs is ahead of him with efficiency in my opinion. Dobbs has thrown 35 completions of 53 attempts, 338 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions this pre-season.

The Elon Musk-like quarterback may have a leg up on Mond, but it’s pivotal to note that Mond is four years younger than Dobbs, too. Dobbs and Brissett are both in CLE on a one-year deal. It’s unclear if the Browns can retain Brissett (especially if he excels in 2022) and even Dobbs. Perhaps Mond can blossom in 2022, which is a developmental year for him, and be the long-term backup to an un-suspended Watson.

Is Kirk Cousins the future QB of the Vikings?

Will Kirk Cousins remain with the Vikings beyond his current contract?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

Kirk Cousins is currently the starting quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and it will be his job heading into the 2021 NFL season. He has had mixed results in this role and will have to prove his worth if he wants to keep it moving forward. He is still only 32 years old so time is on his side as he is still in the middle of his prime. He is not racing the clock but he is playing for his future with the team. Let’s take a look at whether or not he is the long-term answer at quarterback for the Vikings.

The Contract

Cousins is under contract with the Vikings for the next two seasons, through 2022, and is set to make a ton of guaranteed money. He is owed 76 million dollars guaranteed including salary cap hits of 31 million n 2021 and 45 million in 2022. This massive contract and the way that it is structured means he will almost definitely remain with the team until it concludes at the end of the 2022 season. That does not necessarily guarantee his starting job but it does keep him on the payroll.

The Production

After being the starting quarterback for 3 years in Washington, Cousins has now been the starter for the Vikings for 3 consecutive seasons and has only missed one game since arriving in Minnesota. In his 3 seasons with the Vikings he has accumulated over 12000 passing yards and 91 passing touchdowns against 29 interceptions. His completion percentage has decreased each year with 70.1 in 2018, 69.1 in 2019, and 67.6 in 2020. On the other hand, his total QBR has impressively improved each season with 59.5 in 2018, 60.4 in 2019, and 63.2 in 2020.

His numbers as a whole have not been bad but not exactly spectacular either. He has been fairly consistent and definitely does his best work out of the play-action passing game, which makes Dalvin Cook extremely valuable to the success of their offensive scheme. When Cook is rolling, it allows Cousins to get into his rhythm and operate at his best. Cousins has shown consistent chemistry with veteran Adam Thielen and great promise with the young stud Justin Jefferson.

Besides just the individual statistics, it’s also very important to look at the results of the team since Cousins took over as the starting quarterback. Since his arrival, the Vikings record is 25-22-1 in the regular season. They have only made the playoffs one time out of the three years as a wild card and have never won the NFC North division. While this is not a terrible record over three seasons it still leaves much to be desired. If the Vikings do not at the very least make the playoffs this upcoming season then Cousins could be in big trouble in terms of his job security. This may be his last chance to receive a contract extension beyond the 2022 season.

The Replacement

Through the first three years that Cousins was with the Vikings, there wasn’t any real threat on the roster to challenge him for the job including both the present and the future. It was really always his job alone but now things may be different after the organization used a third-round draft pick this year on quarterback Kellen Mond out of Texas A&M. Mond is definitely not going to start right away and is considered a little bit of a developmental project for now but he does have real talent and true potential. After spending some time with the Vikings coaching staff while also serving as the backup quarterback to Cousins, he could blossom into a solid starter eventually.

As a starter in all four years at college, Mond was a legitimate dual-threat quarterback with dangerous rushing abilities to go with arm talent that continuously improved from one year to the next. His accuracy, which was a weakness initially, started to become a strength as he matured and became more comfortable with how the quarterback position is played. He excelled greatly in a zone-read style of offense because of his elite athleticism and effective scrambling. In his college career, he accumulated an impressive 9661 passing yards, 71 passing touchdowns, 1609 rushing yards, and 22 rushing touchdowns.

What makes Mond a good fit with the Vikings is the similarity in styles between what they do as a team and what his strengths appear to be. With Cousins as their quarterback, the Vikings offensive scheme features a ton of play-action passing as well as RPOs. That is exactly the style of attack where Mond found his most success at the college game. Compared to Cousins, Mond is definitely more athletic and dangerous with his legs but not as efficient and accurate of a passer, especially the deep ball.

The Coach

Mike Zimmer has been the head coach of the Vikings since the 2014 season so that of course also includes the entire three years that Cousins has been the quarterback. He has a career record of 66-50-1 as the head coach of the team and it seems as though his job is on the line this year also. If the Vikings do not have a successful campaign this season and at a minimum make a playoff appearance then it is very likely that Zimmer will be fired. Often times when a team brings in a new head coach, it also means that it is time to make a change at quarterback as well, preferably to a younger option to develop chemistry between coach and player while growing together. This situation is another serious threat to the future of Cousins, especially with Mond lurking behind him.

The Verdict

All things considered, the plan for the future of the Vikings at the quarterback position seems pretty clear based on multiple factors. Financially, it would make the most sense to move on from him after the 2022 season when his contract officially expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The potential successor is already on the roster in Kellen Mond, who is an exciting young prospect with a style of play that very well fits the modern NFL game. Unless Cousins does something spectacular this season and not only makes a deep postseason run but is also the main reason for that success, it seems his days as the starting quarterback are numbered in Minnesota.

Though nothing is impossible, it is highly unlikely that Cousins can take such a leap at this point in his career. He can still improve his game but who he is as a quarterback has mostly been defined already. By the 2023 season, if not sooner, expect to see a new combination of a head coach and quarterback for the Vikings. The Cousins era in Minnesota was not a failure and still has a little time to be written, but it was not good enough to this point to justify another very expensive contract extension. As long as he continues to show promise, Kellen Mond is up next for the Vikings and even has a chance to take over the job this year if Cousins struggles at all.

Three quarterbacks who could be surprise Week 1 starters

Taylor Heinicke starting in 2021?

By: Chris Thomas

Now that the NFL is in the midst of their mandatory minicamps, quarterbacks competitions around the league have officially begun. Every year a couple of teams will have two (or three in rare cases) quarterbacks compete for the starting job. Quarterback competitions could be between two veterans, a veteran & a younger player, or an incumbent starter & a rookie. Every once in a while, a quarterback who many believe will lose the quarterback competition has a great camp and can be awarded the starting job.

There are a couple quarterbacks who may seem like long shots to win the starting quarterback job, but may end up being the Week One starter. Here are three quarterbacks who can surprise the league and be the Week One starter for their team.

Washington Football Team: Taylor Heinicke

The quarterback situation for the Washington Football team is not as open-and-shut as many believe it is. According to ESPN staff writer John Keim, Washington will still have a quarterback competition after signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year $10 million deal. The competition will be between Fitzpatrick, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, and Steven Montez.

After Fitzpatrick, the favorite to land the starting job is Taylor Heinicke. The former Old Dominion quarterback was back at school prepping for finals when Washington signed him to their practice squad. He was eventually promoted to the active roster and saw game action Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers. He completed 12 of his 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown in relief of Dwayne Haskins. Then when Alex Smith was ruled out for their playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Heinicke was named the team’s starting quarterback. During that game, he completed 26 of his 44 passing attempts for 306 yards and one passing touchdown. On top of that, he had six rushing attempts for 46 yards and a rushing touchdown. The most impressive part of that game was the fact that the Heinicke-led Washington team was within eight points of taking down the eventual Super Bowl champions in the first round.

After coming into the year as the team’s fourth quarterback last season he is the favorite to be the team’s backup behind Fitzpatrick. However, it wouldn’t be shocking if Heinicke was named the Week 1 starter. After his performance in the playoffs, the team has rallied around Heinicke. He also showed that he is capable of taking control of an NFL offense and will lay it all on the line for his team. If Heinicke outshines Fitzpatrick in training camp, he could be Washington’s starter Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Houston Texans: Davis Mills

The first draft selection of the Nick Caserio/David Culley era was former Stanford quarterback Davis Mills. Houston took Mills with the 67th overall pick in the third round. The selection was not a popular one because many thought Houston would have been better off taking a potential starter for another position of need with this selection over a project quarterback. But by selecting Mills in the first round the Texans administration feels that he could be their long-term starter and could even be their starter at this point this year. The Texans’ current quarterback room is made up of Mills, Tyrod Taylor, and Jeff Driskel. The belief is that former Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson will not play for the Houston Texans this season or ever again after his trade demands and his off-the-field concerns.

In a deep 2021 quarterback class Mills was considered a candidate to be the sixth quarterback drafted and the first one selected out of the first round. He ended up being the eighth quarterback drafted behind now-former Florida quarterback Kyle Trask who was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 64th overall and former Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond who was taken by the Minnesota Vikings with the 66th overall pick. According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the Texans were prepared for select Mond with the 67th selection before Minnesota took him with the selection before.

Mills was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and the top quarterback coming out that year. However, Mills only had 11 career starts at Stanford. Mill redshirted his freshman year and only had two passing attempts his sophomore season. During his junior year, he completed 65.6% of his passes throwing for 1,960 yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions in eight games. He took a slight leap forward during his senior year completing 66.2% of his passes throwing for 1,508 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions. Mills also had three rushing touchdowns during his senior year.

It isn’t certain that Mills will become the Texans quarterback of the future. It is very possible that the team takes a quarterback in the first round next year and Mills becomes a high-end backup. However, after taking Mills with a high selection the Texans must give him starting reps at some point this season. He was taken as high as he was because of his upside. If Mills shows why he was such a highly regarded high school recruit and has flashes of the upside Houston saw in his tape during training camp, he could easily supplant Tyrod Taylor as the team’s starting quarterback next season as early as Week 1.

Philadelphia Eagles: Joe Flacco

After the 2020-21 NFL season it was believed that the Philadelphia Eagles would have a quarterback competition between Carson Wentz and 2020 Second Round pick Jalen Hurts to determine the team’s starter for this upcoming season. But instead, Philadelphia decided to trade Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a package of draft picks. Even with Wentz off of the roster new head coach Nick Sirianni still wants to have a quarterback competition to determine the starter for this upcoming season. The veterans that Hurts will have to compete with for the starting job are recently signed former 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens and former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco.

It has felt like a long time since Joe Flacco was considered a borderline Pro Bowl quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. Eight years has passed since Flacco won the Super Bowl MVP winning Super Bowl XLVII against the San Fransisco 49ers. Since that point Flacco had been very average and then was replaced by Lamar Jackson late in the 2018-19 season after a neck injury.

He was traded to the Denver Broncos the following season for a fourth-round pick. He went 2-6 in eight games for the Broncos completing 65.3% of his passes and throwing for 1,822 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions. After injuring his neck Brandon Allen and 2019 second-round pick Drew Lock started the rest of the Broncos games that season.

Flacco was then released by Denver the next offseason and picked up by the New York Jets to be the backup to Sam Darnold. When Darnold missed four games due to a shoulder injury, Flacco played decently well as the starter. He completed 55.2% of his passes and throwing for 864 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions during that time.

After how Hurts played during his four starts last season it would be shocking if he was not the teams starting quarterback in year one. But if he has a rough camp and doesn’t show improvement in a new system with a healthy offense around him, Nick Sirianni may feel that the 13-year veteran may give them a better chance to win early on. It is important to note that Nick Sirianni has done a lot of more work with veteran pocket passers versus younger mobile quarterbacks like Hurts.

More backup QBs who can become starters later in the year

Minnesota Vikings: Kellen Mond

One of the biggest surprises of the 2021 NFL Draft was the Minnesota Vikings selecting Kellen Mond with the 66th selection in the third round. According to Mike Florio of ProFootball Talk, the Vikings were prepared to move up to the eighth overall selection to take Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields to eventually replace Kirk Cousins as the team’s starting quarterback. That didn’t work out and Fields ended up with division rival Chicago Bears. So their plan B was the take Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond in the third round to potentially fill that void. Similar to Fields, Mond is a mobile quarterback that may be rawer than Fields but has the upside to become an NFL starting quarterback.

In 2016 the Dallas Cowboys did not land Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch in the first round and settled for Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth round. It is fair to say that their plan B worked out for them extremely well. That is what Minnesota could hope for in Mond. If the Minnesota Vikings struggle early in the 2021-22 season, they could turn to Mond and see if he could potentially be the team’s long-term future at quarterback.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mason Rudolph/Dwayne Haskins

After the Pittsburgh Steelers crushing playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns the biggest question surrounding the team was how would the team be constructed and whether Ben Roethlisberger would return for another season. Roethlisberger decided to return for his 17th season after taking a pay cut. He is expected to be the team’s starter in Week 1, but at this point of his career, Roethlisberger may not be capable of competing at a high level for a 17 game regular season and potential postseason play. Pittsburgh may have to evaluate their options in the house and make the tough decision of replacing Roethlisberger midseason with one of the younger quarterbacks on their roster.

Their quarterback situation this season may be similar to what the Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos’ was during the 2015-16 season. 2021 Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning only played in ten games during his finals season in Denver and was relieved by Brock Osweiler midway towards the season. But Manning returned as the team’s starter right before the playoffs and had enough in the tank to win the Super Bowl. That should be the blueprint for the Pittsburgh hopes to achieve this season with their aging quarterback and the younger quarterbacks behind him on the depth chart.

The battle for the backup job in Pittsburgh is between Mason Rudolph and 2019 first round pick Dwayne Haskins. Both have underachieved throughout their careers, but feel that they could be the Steelers long term option at quarterback if Roethlisberger decides to retire after this season. In 2019 Rudolph went 5-3 as a starter, but only threw for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Last season Rudolph threw for 324 yards two touchdowns, and an interception in five games (only one start).

Haskins spent his first two seasons in the league in Washington and was thrown in as the starter about midway through the season when he clearly wasn’t ready yet. In his first season, he went 2-5 as a starter, threw for 1,365 yards, seven touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The following season new head coach Ron Rivera made it clear early on that Haskins would have to earn the starting job and showed signs of not believing in him long term. Due to the lack of depth in the quarterback room, Haskins was named the starter and started six games for Washington last season. He went 1-5 as a starter, threw for 1,439 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions. After a photo leaked of Haskins breaking COVID-19 protocol and attending a party with strippers, he was stripped of captain and later released after a brutal start against Rivera’s former team the Carolina Panthers. This offseason he signed a futures contract with the Steelers.

An interesting transaction that occurred this offseason is that the Steelers did give Rudolph a one year extension after this season worth $5 million. That is a sign that they view him as the potential replacement for Roethlisberger long-term or is comfortable with him competing for the job with Haskins or a rookie next season. It would be hard to imagine one if not both of these quarterbacks getting a shot at being the teams starting quarterback for a couple games this season to preview what their quarterback situation could look like next season and beyond.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑