If you’re looking for a developmental tackle option with a ton of upside in the 2021 draft, look no further. Jalen Mayfield only has 15 starts under his belt during his time at Michigan, but he has faced some of the best edge rushers throughout the few starts he’s had. Those players include Chase Young, Anfernee Jennings, and Yetur Gross-Matos that were all drafted in the first three rounds of the 2020 draft, along with Jayson Oweh and Shaka Toney, both of whom should be selected fairly high in this year’s draft. The NFL world is buzzing as Mayfield is only 20 years old currently ahead of the draft, and he has plenty of room to continue his growth.
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Name: Jalen Mayfield
Position: Offensive Tackle
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Weight: 319 lbs
Pass Blocking (8.25/10)
In the 15 games he’s started, Mayfield has been tasked with facing a murderous row of pass rushers. He has had to learn on the fly and has done a solid job. Mayfield needs to refine some of his movements and become more consistent. If he becomes more consistent, Mayfield could turn into a steal for whichever team takes him in April’s draft.
Run Blocking (9.25/10)
Though Mayfield isn’t a bad pass blocker by any means, his run blocking is incredible. On running plays outside of the tackle, Mayfield is the lead blocker on the majority of these plays, and he paves wide-open lanes for the running back to run through. On inside runs, he can punish interior defensive linemen and plow them into other defenders.
Mayfield can be a lead-blocker on off-tackle runs and screens to his side of the field. He can quickly get to his man in these situations. Mayfield can shuck his first defender off at the first level and make it look easy as he moves to the second level.
His main discrepancies fall here. In his 2019 film, his feet looked slow getting off of the line of scrimmage. He seemed to be flat-footed at all times in his pass-blocking sequence, and, as a result, he wouldn’t have leverage against the pass-rusher. Mayfield’s footwork got better in 2020, but there were still some lapses where he was a little late in his drop back.
He’s a mauler in the run game. Mayfield will completely take defenders out of the play in the blink of an eye. Tenacious and isn’t afraid to run through defenders and plow them into the ground.
He’s solid in this regard. Better in 2020 than in 2019. He’ll get his hands outside on faster pass-rushers but will do a good job against slower ones. Mayfield has a ton of power with his punch and will immediately push back the defender opposite of him.
Mayfield only played as a right tackle for the Wolverines. If needed, he could make the switch to left tackle, and it wouldn’t be too difficult of a transition. If a team has two starting-caliber tackles, a team could also draft him to start at one of the guard spots.
His wingspan paired with his athleticism pair greatly in this regard. He isn’t the tallest, but the other factors in his game help him immensely here.
Football IQ (8.25/10)
As pointed out earlier, Mayfield only has 15 career starts. He’s still learning the game and his tools he can use to help himself against opposing pass-rushers. A lot of Mayfield’s game is projecting his future and how he develops.
Competitive Toughness (4.75/5)
If you want to see a player give it his all on just about every play, watch Mayfield during the two games he played in the 2020 season. He will push guys to the ground and then give them an extra shove or two while they are already down. He can blow defensive linemen out of the play on inside runs. The only reason why this isn’t a perfect score is that he takes some plays off.
Mayfield missed three games in 2020 with a high-ankle sprain.
Mayfield is well worth a first-round selection in April. There are plenty of teams that need a tackle in the back-half of the first round. Mayfield is likely a day one starter for that team. While there may be some growing pains during his rookie season, Mayfield could very well turn into one of the best young tackles in the league. Mayfield’s 2020 season was spectacular, and if he continues this trend while in the NFL, his development could be quicker than expected. He is a great run blocker that only needs to get more playing time to continue his growth.
Final Grade (86/100): Late First-Round
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