Regardless of how much time draft analysts invest in the process of scouting and evaluation, there are always surprise players who rise up the ranks every year.
It seems like every year there is at least one NFL Draft prospect who ends up becoming a high pick that everyone thought was destined for a middle-round selection in the preseason. This has happened due to increased opportunity, developing skills, changing workout habits, or simply maturing.
Some recent examples of players who weren’t talked much as first rounders in the preseason, but ended up being taken in the Top 10 of the next draft include Quinnen Williams in 2019, Baker Mayfield in 2018, and Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.
This is a look at players from each position who can become the next player to develop and soar up draft boards and become a high pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Quarterback: Kellen Mond, Jr., Texas A&M
Kellen Mond was a highly sought after recruit out of Texas. In fact, he was a 4-star recruit and was ranked as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class. He has always had a very strong arm that he complemented well with his talent as a runner, but he didn’t really know how to fully utilize his strengths and needed some obvious development.
Mond was forced into action as a true freshman in 2017 due to injuries. In eight starts, he threw for 1,375 yards, eight touchdowns, six interceptions, and a 51.5% completion percentage. He also added 340 yards on the ground that year as well.
As a sophomore last season, he had a new coach in Jimbo Fisher who brought a more pro-style offense with him. Mond showed great development under Fisher while starting all 13 games in 2018. He increased his passing yards to 3,108 and improved his completion percentage to 57.3%. Mond also took better care of the ball with 9 interceptions compared to 24 touchdowns. While he still had his struggles throughout the year, Mond showed some obvious improvement in 2018.
If he can continue to develop in Fisher’s offense, Mond’s dual-threat skills and strong arm could turn him into a top-15 pick in 2020 if he turns pro.