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2021 NFL Draft profile: What Michigan OL Jalen Mayfield brings to the Falcons

Mayfield is another Wolverine with the traits to succeed and his best football ahead of him.

Army v Michigan Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Jalen Mayfield developed into one of the best offensive tackles in the Big Ten during his time with the Michigan Wolverines. Now, he projects to be a name that could come off the board as early as the back half of the first round or be a nice value pick for someone on the draft’s second day.

Here is a look at what he brings to the table and how he fits best at the next level after being selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round.

Info

Height/Weight: 6-foot-5, 326 pounds

School: Michigan

Position: Offensive tackle

Projected: 1st-2nd round

Pro Day Results: 5.31-second 40-yard dash | 28.5 inch vertical jump | 8-foot broad jump | Wingspan: 77.5 inches | Arm length: 32 5/8 inches | 3-cone drill: 7.86 seconds

NFL role: Starting-caliber tackle or guard

Strengths

  • Good athlete given his size, moves well in space and possesses good agility
  • Lateral mobility on film is one of his biggest strengths, he can do whatever he is asked to do on a given play
  • Extremely competitive and held his own against some of the best pass rushers in the Big Ten over the last few years, including Chase Young
  • His burst off of the snap is impressive
  • Has a nice blend of power and quickness and he started to put it together in limited action during 2020 season
  • Mayfield is a violent finisher and he will make that known in a blocking matchup where he has a power advantage

Weaknesses

  • Still relatively green as a prospect with only 15 career starts
  • Did not test great at his pro day, including a 5.31 40-yard dash time
  • Shorter arms than many teams would like to see in potential starters at tackle in the NFL, but still lengthy enough to play on the edge
  • Timing with his hands and punches could use some work, comes in late at times
  • Could use some better consistency as a run blocker
  • May need to improve upper body strength

Overview

Mayfield’s film, albeit limited from this season, shows the skill-set of a first rounder. The pro day performance has definitely hurt his stock and put into question his athleticism. This has caused him to slide into the middle of the second round in many several mock drafts.

He should be able to handle starting tackle duties at the next level, but he could potentially have a quicker road to playing time with a switch to guard. He is still figuring things out, but the athletic profile and testing numbers might play into the idea that a kick inside might not be the worst thing in the world.

Running Mayfield’s testing numbers through Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Scores metric at both tackle and guard seems to support this.

Kent Lee Platte
Kent Lee Platte

Mayfield has the skill set to play either left or right tackle, but a move to guard should not be ruled out. This might actually be beneficial to an NFL franchise that is looking to get its best five linemen on the field regardless of position. Unfortunately, it might come at the expense of a few million dollars on slotted money for the Wolverine prospect.

I see Mayfield coming off the board somewhere in the 40s or 50s in this draft given the totality of his evaluation and where the league buzz seems to be at. Teams looking for a tough, competitive player that has a moldable, still-developing set of tools should be happy with him wherever he lands positionally. He has not put together his best, most consistent stretch of football yet.

It is hard to pin down his best fit team-wise given that he seems positionally versatile and someone who can be plugged into any scheme. Offensive line-needy teams in the range he is expected to land include: the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers.