Robert Griffin III’s time in Washington wound up being sidetracked through injuries, but he always needed to look over his shoulder at another quarterback, too.
The Burgundy-and-Gold drafted Griffin second overall in 2012, but then chose Kirk Cousins in the fourth round. By 2015, Cousins was the starter. And by 2016, Washington released Griffin, the quarterback the team traded three first-round picks and a second-round selection to draft.
Now Cousins might be the quarterback looking over his shoulder after the Minnesota Vikings drafted former Texas A&M passer Kellen Mond in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft.
“I can tell you right now that No. 8 in Minnesota is probably not real happy right now,” Griffin said on Bleacher Report’s draft analysis show. “Because Kellen Mond represents exactly what he doesn’t do well, right?. Kellen Mond is the big, physical quarterback who can run it, throw it all over the field, and I don’t think that’s something that No. 8 is able to do in Cousins in Minnesota. But I think that’s what the coaching staff and administration is looking for.”
Cousins joined the Vikings ahead of the 2018 season and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2019 when he threw for 3,603 yards with 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. But Minnesota has found little playoff success with Cousins under center, besides the 2019 win in the wild card round.
In his three seasons with Minnesota, the team is 25-22-1. Cousins has thrown for over 4,000 yards in two of those years, but Griffin wonders if fans will clamber for a change under center if he doesn’t perform well out of the gate in 2021.
“As you’ve seen, Cousins has been collecting checks there in Minnesota for a long time, taking them to 8-8, 9-7 seasons,” Griffin said. “If he has a bad start to the year like he did last year, I could see the fans and maybe the organization leaning toward Mond if he comes in and impresses.”
Mond finished his Texas A&M career as the Aggies’ all-time leader in several offensive categories: total offense (11,270 yards); passing yards (9,661); passing touchdowns (71); completions (801); and attempts (1,358).
“Mond had a lot of inconsistencies in his game,” Griffin said. “And the biggest thing last year, he actually improved drastically, but some NFL evaluators looking over the course of all the years of his starts at Texas A&M, they’re still a little skeptical about him. But I will tell you this: with great determination and great coaching, I think this is a guy that could be a real riser over the course of his career.”