From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#73 Jalen Mayfield OT/Michigan – 6-5, 320 pounds
– Athletic player with excellent footwork
– Ideal size and movement ability to project as a tackle in the NFL
– Gets into pass sets quickly, hardly beat with speed rushes
– Fluid mover in the run game
– Shows ability to combo and climb to second level defenders
– Shows great recovery ability when losing initial battle at LOS
– Plays with attitude in the run game, finishes plays with high frequency
– Good starting experience against quality competition
– Traits project him to be potential starter on both left and right sides
– Plays bigger than size suggests, showcases smooth transitions in and out of route breaks
– Functional strength needs work, gets pushed back way too often in pass sets
– Needs to be more consistent with hand placement, gets out of frame at times
– Anchor needs improvement, played too high at times
– Relatively small sample size, only started 15 games in college
– Lunges at times when trying to contain bendy pass rushers
– Struggled handling pass rushers who used long arm bullrushes
– Played in 18 games, with 15 career starts at Michigan
–All-Big Ten honoree (honorable mention, coaches, 2019)
– Four-star recruit from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School in Michigan, chose Michigan over Minnesota, Iowa, Arizona among several other schools.
– Father, Brian, played left tackle at Ferris State (1989-93)
Jalen Mayfield is a physical specimen in this draft class that possesses some of the best footwork I’ve seen while evaluating the 2021 Draft Class. Mayfield on tape shows the ability to use that athleticism to climb and block second level defenders, neutralize pass rushers and finish his blocks by driving defenders to the ground. He may not have started many games, and struggled at times with functional strength, but he looked really impressive as he continued to grow at right tackle for the Wolverines.
Inside Hand Torque by RT Jalen Mayfield
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 30, 2020
In this first clip against Notre Dame in 2019, Mayfield shows off his footwork and ability to drive defenders off the ball. He fires off the ball with urgency and buries his man, creating a clean lane for his running back to run through.
Again, Mayfield shows off his ability to drive defenders out of the play against Michigan State. Shows his physicality at the point of attack, engages, and completely takes the Spartan defender out of the play. He moves people with consistency in the run game.
Jalen Mayfield shows a lot of promise in pass protection. Against Maryland, Mayfield does a nice job attacking his man, showing great leverage and hand placement, mirrors his defender with his footwork to stonewall his matchup. Athleticism shows up all over his tape.
One thing that worried me on tape was Mayfield not being able to counter the long armed bull rush. Especially earlier in the season, he would be walked back into his quarterback, just like the play below. His functional strength against bigger, faster pass rushers has to be more consistent.
On this next play, Mayfield gets lazy with his feet and hand placement, gives up the edge and allows a sack. Not ideal for him, but this play was more of an anomaly rather than the norm. Typically, he gets into his pass sets much quicker and shows better initial hand placement.
Mayfield shows off his ability to quickly get to second level defenders, and not only make contact but drive him out of the play. He shows great lateral movement ability on the play, solid hand placement and plays within his frame.
Final play from Mayfield again shows off his movement and drive ability in the run game, and blocking through the whistle. He plays with an attitude and authority in the run game. His best game from 2019 was against Notre Dame, he cleared plenty of holes and pancaked multiple defenders.
While there are some concerns with his inexperience and play strength at times, Mayfield is an undeniably toolsy prospect who has all the traits to project as a starting tackle at both spots, as well as the size to move inside to guard. His athleticism, power, and ability to negate pass rushers in college should translate well to the next level. He will probably be in the second tier of tackles, alongside names like Dillon Radunz, Teven Jenkins, Liam Eichenburg and more.
His tape doesn’t say he’s a first round, but with his upside I would not be surprised if snuck into the back end of round one.
Projection: Late 1st- Early 2nd
Games Watched: vs. Notre Dame (2019), at Maryland (2019) , vs Michigan State (2019, at Alabama (2019), at Penn State (2019)