NAME: Jalen Mayfield
POSITION: Offensive Tackle
WEIGHT: 320 pounds
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Jalen Mayfield grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he attended Catholic Central High School. While there, he was a four year starter at offensive tackle and defensive end. Mayfield helped lead Catholic Central to back to back Division Four Michigan State Championships in 2016 and 2017. As a senior, he was named The Grand Rapids Press Defensive Player of the Year after recording 96 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 17 sacks and three fumble recoveries. 247Sports rated Mayfield as a four-star recruit. The database also ranked him as the number 87 prospect nationally, the number nine offensive tackle and the number one overall player out of the state of Michigan. His father, Brian, played college football as well. He was an offensive tackle at Ferris State (1989-93).
In his freshman season of 2018 at Michigan, Mayfield appeared in three games at left tackle. He solidified a role the following season in 2019. Starting all 13 games at right tackle for the Wolverines, the offensive lineman began to turn heads. Following that campaign, the coaches labeled him as an honorable mention for All-Big Ten honors. Mayfield originally opted out of the 2020 season in August. However, when the Big Ten Conference announced their plans to have a fall season, he returned to the program. A high ankle sprain limited him to just two starts in 2020, though.
It is easy to appreciate Mayfield’s style from one rep to another. He always has a stable plan of attack, with which to go about taking on the opponent. His play also displays very little wasted movements, to mix with that plan of attack. You can see that his head remains on a swivel. By constantly turning and looking for the next oncoming rusher, Mayfield is never really surprised or caught off guard. He does not hesitate to leave his area and reach an opponent coming from any direction. On the other hand, he takes noble angles in pass sets and understands how to use his leverage.
Overall, Mayfield provides sufficient movement skills across the board. He has no issues when being asked to reach up to the second level of the defense. Meanwhile, the same goes for him when running and leading a toss in the open field, or when Mayfield is pulling near the line of scrimmage. His pass sets are well rounded. Mayfield uses quick, nimble footwork to climb vertically and drive backwards. Because of this, defenders generally do not stress him to turn immediately. Finally, Mayfield’s change of direction skills are fairly clean.
There may be some added functional strength needed in this player’s development. However, the raw power is noticeable. Mayfield is not afraid to show off his physical nature. This resonates more often in run block reps. He can maul and overpower defenders. With a dense lower half, Mayfield is able to topple opponents into the dirt. Or, he can force defenders to lose their balance in pass block reps. In the meantime, this blocker can win by staying high with his pad level. Opposing pass rushers simply have a difficult time disengaging from blocks after he latches on.
The main issues with Mayfield in this area, has to do with his hand placement and timing. He can be a bit slow to react to initial pass rush counter moves. Once that occurs, he becomes indecisive with his attack. Mayfield generally wants to get on top of opponents, rather than attempting to get under their shoulders. Elsewhere, he can lose control of his hands and arms altogether. The offensive lineman can let his hands get too wide and outside of his frame. The length he has will help mitigate part of that, which is certainly up to the NFL’s standards. Yet, his chest can become exposed in situations like that.
Mayfield certainly has the quickness in his footwork. Though, there are plays that he can become cloudy with his feet and lower half. Most of the time, this materializes against faster pass rushers. The defenders with ample length have proven to give him fits occasionally as well. Mayfield can become a bit of a lunger and reacher in these situations. When taking on bendier pass rushers, he will have to work at anchoring and setting up at a quicker pace. His patience can be both a positive and a deterrent.
This could be more nitpicky than anything, but Mayfield did not see the field at a high clip at Michigan overall. He holds a total of 18 games played and 15 starts to his name. Add in the back and forth situation for him in 2020, where it was stop and start, then stop again, and Mayfield may see a larger learning curve initially. I do think offensive tackle is a position, where this is not quite as big of an issue. He also faced plenty of notable pass rushers in 2019, like Chase Young, Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara, Jayson Oweh, Shaka Toney and Anfernee Jennings. How will Mayfield’s smaller sample size affect him at the start of his NFL career, if it does at all, remains to be seen.
While his best football may lie ahead of him, Jalen Mayfield has the physical tools to be one of the best offensive tackle prospects from the 2021 class. His aforementioned athleticism is something Andy Reid has usually coveted for his offensive linemen in the past. To boot, that attribute allows him to play in space and battle with some of the more refined pass rushers. Mayfield also displays tremendous size and length to play on the outside. We know he has appeared mainly at right tackle during his Michigan tenure. He has also been serviceable at left tackle too, however.
Of course, the Kansas City Chiefs have needs at both tackle spots entering the upcoming season. Right tackle may be somewhat secure, as a competition is expected to take place between Lucas Niang and Mike Remmers. Nonetheless, nothing is set in stone. Coach Reid has not hesitated to make lineup changes up front in the past, ensuring he gets his best starting five on the field for Patrick Mahomes. Honestly, Mayfield could thrive greatly from either tackle position.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs draft prospect profiles throughout the next month. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.