Some news and notes for this morning.
1) Yesterday, one player we mentioned was Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond, who is becoming a name being discussed as a potential QB target who the Patriots might turn to if their top choice is gone by the time they pick later this month.
Mond had a strong showing at his pro day, easily dropping bombs and making it look easy. NFL.com posted a video of some of his workout and he certainly looked impressive.
This is my guy. I think he's the most likely Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson in this draft, in terms of guys that are drafted beyond the first round and turn out to be franchise QBs. https://t.co/iBqLYlXVTz
— Christopher Gasper (@cgasper) April 7, 2021
Watching those passes, the arc on the football is sort of similar to what we’ve seen from Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who has those throws down to an art. They get dropped right in front of the receiver, which makes it nearly impossible for a defender to make a play.
We’ve seen a few such plays over the years where you just have to tip your hat to Wilson for a great throw and a terrific play by the receiver. Mond looks like that’s a weapon he has in his arsenal, and it’s intriguing considering that hasn’t been a strength the Patriots have had in recent memory.
Obviously, it’s different when he’s out there doing it without pads or pressure, but it certainly shows off his physical ability. As New England continues mulling their options, he definitely looks like he could be an interesting addition if the Patriots end up taking a shot at bringing him in.
2) It sounds like the Jets had a few suitors for Sam Darnold this offseason, although nothing came to fruition until Carolina ultimately pulled off the deal and added him to the Panthers.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the 49ers apparently were among two other teams who were in the mix to acquire him.
Rapoport reports that Washington had conversations with the Jets, while San Francisco also inquired about what it would take to get a deal done. He points out that the conversations took place before free agency even started, but the Jets weren’t ready to make a move at the time.
However, they pulled the trigger Monday when they sent him to Carolina for three draft picks, acquiring a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft, as well as second and fourth-round picks next year.
The Jets currently appear ready to replace Darnold in the coming weeks, with Rapoport also reporting recently that teams haven’t inquired to try and pull off a trade for that #2 overall selection. Whether or not the Jets grab the next Mitch Trubisky instead of the next Patrick Mahomes remains to be seen, although if history is any indication, no one should be surprised if they screw it up.
3) One interesting bit of news yesterday was the fact that last year’s 7th-round pick, Dustin Woodward, unretired and has been reinstated to the active roster.
The offensive lineman out of Memphis decided to retire prior to the season, although no specific reason has been revealed as to how he reached that decision.
The fact he’s coming back is good news for the Patriots, as Woodward is a versatile player who certainly brings value.
Here’s a quick breakdown that was posted here following his addition one-year ago:
Woodward is 6’2″, 291-pounds but one of the things that stands out is what a versatile player he was in college. The former Tigers offensive lineman played left guard, right guard and center during his collegiate career and was also incredibly reliable after starting in 52-straight games. He played a total of 54 games in college, which set the school record for most games played by an offensive lineman.
Whether or not he can make the roster is the next question, but as we know, versatility and reliablity are two attributes Bill Belichick prefers. If Woodward is serious about continuing his NFL journey, it should be a fun storyline to follow in the months ahead.
4) Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe had a terrific piece on receiver Kendrick Bourne, who has grown quite a bit as a player and as a person since working his way from an undrafted free agent to quietly becoming one of the better receivers in the league.
One of the challenges Bourne has dealt with along the way is a similar problem most young players go through, which is dealing with the responsibility of suddenly experiencing an influx of income.
As a rookie, Bourne received a $5,000 signing bonus along with a salary of $465,000, which he admitted went out as soon as it came in.
He admitted to Yang that he “almost went really broke”, which was definitely a learning experience. Since then, he’s hired a new agent, Henry Organ, who has helped Bourne start making better budgetary decisions. He’s set him up with a financial adviser, who helped him set up an investment fund. Organ also has access to his accounts and keeps an eye on anything concerning Bourne might do, and keeps him honest.
He’s also pushed Bourne to become a better player, which has seen him get into a better workout routine. Instead of working out more causally, Bourne works out each day to help him reach the level he wants to be. Now he’s hoping it pays off in New England.
“I would just go to the field one day here, one day there,” Bourne told the newspaper. “But I’m trying to be a 1,000-yard guy, 10-touchdown guy, 100-catches guy, so I have to do everything it takes rather than just a little bit. That’s the main thing I want to show.”
Hopefully, he’ll reach that goal here in New England.
5) For anyone who might not have seen it, NFL.com had a good read on Mac Jones, who apparently had the nickname “The Joker” during his time at Alabama.
He’s apparently cocky and likes to laugh, occasionally also breaking into spontaneous dances in the locker room.
But on the field, he’s all business and apparently an incredibly tough player. There was a moment in the Orange Bowl that one of his teammates, receiver Mac Hereford, called “legendary” for their QB, as Jones took a crushing blow.
From the article:
For Hereford, Jones’ ascent to a feared Joker was marked by a crushing hit he absorbed in a 2019 Citrus Bowl win over Michigan that foretold his dominance in 2020. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, flagged for roughing the passer on the play, leveraged his body weight to drive Jones’ head into the turf.
One of Jones’ molars split into pieces. He was spitting blood and chunks of his tooth. A commemorative jersey patch was half torn by Hutchinson’s hit, and Jones ripped it off and tossed it to the turf.
Trainers stepped toward him; Jones yelled for them to stay off the field, and he didn’t miss a play.
“I thought he was dead,” Hereford said. “But he’d waited three years to get hit like that, and everyone on the sideline could relate. That was the Joker. You can’t kill him. He looks over like, ‘Let’s go, what’s the next play?’ It was legendary.”
Jones got up and finished the drive that eventually ended in a touchdown.
You can see the hit in the video below, which comes at the 5:21 mark:
San Francisco appears to be the team that may take Jones, but some experts believe the 49ers might still go in another direction. If they do, it’s another little tidbit about Jones that shows he’s a tough player who looks like he’ll definitely be an asset wherever he lands.
Whether or not that ends up being New England remains the big question and it will obviously still be a few weeks before we finally get that answer.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Carolina Panthers Dustin Woodward Kellen Mond Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones New England Patriots Orange Bowl Russell Wilson Sam Darnold San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks