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Purple Prospect Portfolio: Jalen Mayfield

The athletic tackle has room to grow while relying on his physical dominance.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl has come and gone. Draft season is upon us. Free agency is still weeks away, which changes the landscape of mock drafts far and wide. Before we get into mock drafts, “needs” and other pre-draft favorites, I’m attempting to simply examine a prospect a day leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, with some purple shades on and my eye on fits for the Baltimore Ravens.

It’s easy to cherry pick highlights and make every player look like a superstar, however I will do my best to present clips that are recurring themes throughout a player’s tape.

First up . . .

Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan

Mayfield was a high-end, four-star recruit coming out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was the 16th-rated offensive tackle in the nation by 247 Sports and fourth highest rated recruit in Michigan. He played in three games as a freshman, then started 13 games as a sophomore and two games as a junior after initially opting out of the 2020 season.

Mayfield will be 21 in May and only has 15 starts to his name, but his growth has been healthy and wealthy as he looked dominant in his two starts this past season.

Games watched: Bama ‘19, Wisconsin ‘19, Minnesota ‘20, Michigan St. ‘20

Run game:

Mayfield is a certified road grader who removes defenders from the frame in every game. Ample core strength and powerful drive from his legs is evident. When he worked downhill in Michigan’s pro-style run game, it was a sight to behold. Mayfield continuously torques and turns 5-techniques lined up outside shade with precise inside hand placement and core strength.

Against over fronts Mayfield clears the B-gap creating roomy rushing lanes. Against under fronts he crashes and drives 3-techniques inside all the same. While Mayfield primarily aligned at right tackle, he played two games on the left side, showing the same bull dozing drive off the ball. Effort is never an issue for the former Wolverine. Can pull front and lead blocks with enough agility in space to hunt down and neutralize defensive backs.

Mayfield consistently washes linebackers out of the equation. Overall dominant run blocker.

Pass game:

While his feet and shoulders usually are in the right place, Mayfield’s hands are still a work in progress. He’s a player who needs to work on hand placement, timing and resets, the athletic tackle has room to grow in pass pro. It’s not that he’s consistently beaten, rather that he could stall rushes out much quicker with use of snatches if he loses his chest to opposing rushers. His feet can be a bit too busy at times, which gets him beat during the middle game of pass rushes. Patient but passive, while you’d like to see him use the physicality he brings in the run game more often early in reps. If he can master in shooting his hands more aggressively and clamping down, watch out.

It appears Mayfield hasn’t mastered using his length to strike first and clamp down. There are examples of nice resets, particularly when speed rushes initially win. His smooth movement skill shows up in blitz recognition, where he processes well and keeps his head on a swivel. He passes off stunts and delayed blitzes well despite not having a ton of game experience. Constantly looks for work to help out wherever he can if he’s free and always finishes through the whistle. Looks like a fullback in space on screens at time and is a reliable screen blocker.

Summary: Mayfield is an exciting prospect because he’s already shown special qualities, but there’s clear room for him to grow. Despite a small sample size, he was considerably more confident and polished in 2020 than 2019. He held up well against the likes of Alabama and Wisconsin, who featured several future NFL players in their fronts. With more work on strike timing and activating his length, as well as more practice anchoring and recovering, Mayfield should be an early starter who grows leaps and bounds over his first two seasons — ultimately turning into a quality long-term starter with high upside.

One sentence: “Ferocious and physical run blocker with endless upside in pass pro.”

Grade: Round 1

Scheme fit: Universal — can play both gap and zone.