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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL Draft inches closer, more and more attention is being put on linking the Patriots to one of the top five quarterbacks expected to go in the first round. Internally though, the attention of the Patriots – or at least their offensive coordinator – may be slightly further down the consensus draft board.

According to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, Josh McDaniels has been in contact with Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond since first meeting him in late January.

“Mond met with Patriots officials at the Senior Bowl and has kept in touch with the club throughout the offseason, exchanging the occasional text with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels,” Price writes. He added that Mond believes he will have an official pre-draft meeting with the team.

Historically, not much information regarding the Patriots’ draft process has reached the public. It’s hard to say if coaches have done this with other players in the past, or if McDaniels is texting with other quarterbacks in this draft class as well as Mond (Mac Jones was also at the Senior Bowl). But we do know that Bill Belichick tends to have a limited draft board, and based off this report it feels safe to say Mond is on it.

As for Mond himself, after a strong showing at the Senior Bowl (where he won game MVP) and his Pro Day he has been viewed by many draft experts as the top quarterback outside the elite first round group. Projections have him going anywhere from the end of the first round to early in the third.

There’s a number of things about Mond that make him a logical Patriots’ target. He was a four-year starter for the Aggies, where he ran a pro-style offense under Jimbo Fisher. He posted a 46-14 record which included a 9-1 senior season that saw A&M just narrowly miss the college football playoff.

The biggest concern about Mond’s game has been his consistency. However there’s questions whether that’s a reflection of him, or the fact he had to play for multiple head coaches during his college career, and wasn’t surrounded by the talent you’d expect to see at an SEC school.

Again, Mond fits the mold of a typical Patriots draft pick. The question remains though, in a year where quarterback is the teams most pressing need, and with so much talent at the top of the draft at the position, will they follow the status quo and go with the higher-risk product in Mond? Or break tradition and aggressively push their way to the top of the draft?

If the Patriots’ can’t get one of the top five quarterbacks, it doesn’t mean they’re out of options. Here’s a look at the mid-round arms from Matt Dolloff.