Kellen Mond became the first Texas A&M quarterback taken in the draft since Johnny Manziel in 2014 when the Minnesota Vikings drafted him in the third round with the 66th overall pick Friday.
Mond said the Vikings were one of his top teams based on the relationship he developed with Viking offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak, son of former A&M quarterback Gary Kubiak.
“I kind of had word that they really liked my game ... kind of how I approached the game mentally and physically,” Mond said. “I definitely knew that was an opportunity for me to go. At that point, it was just playing the waiting game. It’s a phenomenal opportunity for me, and I’m super excited right now.”
Mond was the seventh quarterback selected in this year’s draft and the third from the Southeastern Conference behind Alabama’s Mac Jones and Florida’s Kyle Trask. Jones went 15th overall to the New England Patriots and Trask was the final pick of the second round (64th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The younger Kubiak began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at A&M from 2010-2012, before taking a quality control position with the Vikings in 2013. After moves to the University of Kansas and the Denver Broncos, Kubiak returned to Minnesota as the Vikings’ quarterback coach before earning a promotion to offensive coordinator in February. He replaced his father in the position after the elder Kubiak announced his retirement.
“He loved the way I’ve battled back from adversity and just was always able to grow and just being able to have that A&M connection makes it a little more special,” Mond said.
Mond’s selection continues a streak of at least one Aggie selected in the draft since 2008. Since 1975, an Aggie has been selected in 45 of 46 drafts with 2007 the one outlier.
Mond finished his A&M career as the school-record holder for completions, pass attempts, passing yards (9,661), touchdown passes (71) and total offense. He showed improvement as a senior by connecting on a career-high 63.3% of his passes then earned Senior Bowl MVP honors after throwing two touchdown passes and scoring two two-point conversions in the postseason showcase.
Mond gave credit to A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher for helping prepare him for the next level, something he said the Vikings also appreciated.
“Everything that Coach Fisher put on my plate and just my mental approach to the game as well as my physical intangibles I think is something they fell in love with,” Mond said.
Mond will apprentice under nine-year veteran Kirk Cousins, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins. Cousins has two years remaining on his contract with the Vikings.
“[I’m] just wanting to do everything to the best of my ability and be perfect and grasp all types of information, whether it’s from Kirk, coaches or veteran receivers who have seen so many things in the league,” said Mond, who enjoyed a nice Texas twist when his named was called Friday at the NFL draft headquarters in Cleveland.
Former Viking defensive tackle and Hall of Famer John Randle, a Hearne native, announced Mond’s name. Mond said the party of about 80 people gathered at his childhood home in San Antonio saw Randle and began yelling, “Hearne, Texas!” in anticipation of the pick.
“A lot of people know a lot about [Randle], especially if you are from Texas,” Mond said. “To hear him call my name was even more special.”
And now Mond can begin living a dream that began when his father, Kevin, began teaching him how to throw a football at age 2.
“I feel like I’ve been preparing for this for the longest time,” Mond said. “I’m truly excited. Just having the experience I have playing the SEC against the best competition, it’s going to make it a lot easier curve for me than many other quarterbacks. I’m not saying I’m already ready for the NFL, but I’m definitely going to take the opportunity that I have and enjoy every learning experience.”
NOTES — Manziel was taken with the 22nd overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2014.