The conversations around the Chicago Bears in their pursuit of a quarterback have centered around what they’re likely to do. Who do they want? Most experts have them jumping up in the 1st round for somebody they covet. Others think they’ll have to settle for a guy on Day 2. What hasn’t really been discussed a lot is who may actually be the best fit for this team. Which QB would stand to benefit most from the type of system the Bears employ?
That is the problem Cynthia Frelund attempted to tackle. She is the analytics expert for NFL Network. Her latest project is an interesting one. Finding the best landing spot for each of the top quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. She did this using context-based data models that factored in a team’s personnel, coaches, and strategy. What results did she come away with?
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond is their guy.
“Mond’s résumé shows that he has taken the most reps in this class and experienced the most NFL-style plays and situations. (At Texas A&M, Mond played for Jimbo Fisher, whose system is more similar to pro playbooks than those of most other college coaches.) When Mond’s body is set — think: clean pocket — my computer vision shows his accuracy to be fourth-best since 2019 among QBs in this class.
My model shows that Mond has some areas to address in order to maximize his skill set at the next level. (For one, he has inconsistent accuracy when plays break down, especially in the middle third of the field.) But his pain points mostly overlap with areas that happen to be strengths of Matt Nagy’s playbook, areas where the coach has a strong track record of teaching and inducing improvement. Throw in veteran Andy Dalton’s influence, and this situation could be the catalyst to drive Mond’s trajectory very high.”
Mond is a fascinating case study. In terms of athletic potential, he has everything a team looks for. A strong arm and plenty of mobility. Yet he doesn’t lean on his legs as others might. He’s willing to stand in the pocket and will only run when given no other choice. Frelund’s colleague Lance Zierlein compared him to former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who had some really good seasons in the early 2010s.
The sticking point for many was his production. Despite his extensive experience, his passing totals never really wowed. In three seasons as the starter since 2018, he managed to throw 63 touchdowns. By contrast, Florida’s Kyle Trask, a fellow Day 2 projected QB, managed 68 in less than two full seasons. The question is was that due to Mond’s limitations as a passer or perhaps the personnel he played with? These are the questions teams seek answers to.
Chicago Bears must know if Mond can shoulder the mental load
The personnel issue is a fascinating one. Since Mond took over in 2018, not a single wide receiver from Texas A&M has been drafted. The highest selected offensive player they’ve had in that time is tight end Jace Sternberger. In their one year together, they connected for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns. This at least offers evidence that Mond can produce notable numbers when he has talent around him to work with.
For what it’s worth, no receiver is expected to be drafted from there this year either.
The Chicago Bears have evaluated the 2021 quarterback class from top to bottom. They’re studying every single prospect extensively. GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy understand how important this decision is. Not only could it determine the future of the franchise. It might end up saving their jobs if they get it right. Mond is somebody that can be called divisive among evaluators. Some really like him. Others not so much.
Former QB Chris Simms is a big fan.
He listed Mond as the fourth-best QB in this draft, citing his “rocket” arm, his success in the SEC, his excellent accuracy, and his strong decision-making. Simms has a track record of being pretty good with his evaluations. So what he is saying about the A&M standout is worth nothing. Perhaps Frelund is onto something with this connection. If anybody might benefit from sitting behind Andy Dalton for a year, it would be him.