Photo Credit- Dawn of the Dog
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Georgia, Linebacker, Smael Mondon, Jr.
Name- Smael Mondon, Jr.
HT/WT- 6’3” 225 lbs.
Home – Dallas, GA
Smael Mondon, Jr. played high school football for Paulding County in Dallas, Georgia. He was selected to the 2021 All-American Bowl. 247Sports rated him a five-star composite prospect, ranked him as the #29 prospect nationally, and the #3 OLB nationally. Besides linebacker he also played some quarterback, running back and wide receiver, and recorded 1,129 all-purpose yards.
In 2021 Mondon played in all 15 games as a reserve defensive back and on kick return and coverage units. He finished the season with 12 tackles and a quarterback sack. He started 13 games at linebacker in 2022, leading the team in tackles with 76 despite missing two games due to injury. He finished the year with 8 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 interception. He was the leading tackler in the CFP National Championship Game win over TCU and entering the 2023 season, he made the Butkus Award Watch List.
Mondon is excellent in coverage and mirrors the receivers like a safety. He is an aggressive player with a non stop motor, who does not quit until he gets to the ball. He’s explosive and plays sideline-to-sideline and has excellent closing speed.
Mondon is an athlete who can put pressure on the quarterback up the middle. He has impeccable timing on his blitzes and does a good job of staying away from traffic at the line of scrimmage.
On the downside, he is undersized for the NFL and may be seen as a “tweener” type at the next level. He will take roundabout routes to the ball, though he is always hustling. He doesn’t always attack with the best angles and without weight gain, Mondon could be a weakness in the run game at the next level. He has problems with one-on-one matchups with larger opponents and gets swallowed up at times.
Watching the speed of Mondon and his non stop motor it wasn’t hard to be reminded of ex-Steeler Ryan Shazier. Shazier was 2” smaller but weighed a tad bit more than Mondon. Mondon has a chance to be a defensive playmaker at the NFL level.
Pass rush up the middle.
Smael Mondon, Jr. is one of the top overall athletes on the defensive side of the ball coming out in 2024. He could transition to a hybrid type linebacker/safety and be a playmaker in the NFL.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 3rd round