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NFL draft rumors: Patriots have stayed in touch with quarterback prospect Kellen Mond throughout the offseason

Related: What is Bill Belichick looking for in a quarterback?

Capital One Orange Bowl - Texas A&M v North Carolina Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Not a year goes by without quarterback being the most talked-about position in the NFL draft. 2021 is obviously no exception, as five prospects — Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Zach Wilson (BYU), Trey Lance (North Dakota State), Mac Jones (Alabama) — are seen as realistic candidates to come off the board early in the first round.

This year’s crop of quarterbacks is far deeper than just those five names, though, and also features a high-upside second tier of prospects. Among them is Kellen Mond.

A four-year starter at Texas A&M, Mond offers an intriguing mix of arm talent, adequate size and sneaky athleticism. He has also drawn the attention of the New England Patriots: not only did they meet with him at the Senior Bowl in January, the two sides also have been in frequent contact since.

According to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, Mond “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,” said Mond about his contact with the Patriots. “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.”

The Patriots are in the market for a passer this year. While they did re-sign last year’s starter, Cam Newton, his modestly-priced one-year contract suggests that he is not seen as a long-term solution — something team owner Robert Kraft alluded to as well during a media conference call last week.

New England has therefore been linked to numerous prospects this year. They are heavily scouting the top-tier quarterbacks and were spotted at their respective Pro Days as well, and are also doing their due diligence on other passers such as Kellen Mond.

In case the Patriots are not in a position to select one of the consensus top-five, or are simply not as high on them as others, a player like Mond might be a target on the second day of the draft. While raw and likely not starter material as a rookie, the 21-year-old offers the developmental upside a team like New England might find valuable and thus worthy of investing in.

Mond himself, meanwhile, is not concerned about his landing spot just yet. Instead, he is trying to keep improving his craft.

“I think the two people that I’ve watched the most this past offseason were Drew Brees and Tom Brady,” he told the Boston Globe. “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.”

The Patriots got a first-hand look at Mond’s progress at the Senior Bowl. While he had his struggles in practice, he earned MVP honors during the game after going 13-for-25 for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Mond posted those numbers after a senior season at Texas A&M that saw him complete 63.3 percent of his throws for 2,282 yards as well as a 19-to-3 touchdown-interception rate. He also 294 yards on 74 rushing attempts and found the end zone four times.