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NAME: Boye Mafe
POSITION: Defensive End
WEIGHT: 261 pounds
A native of Golden Valley, Minnesota, Boye Mafe attended Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minnesota. During his junior season of high school football, he recorded 40 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack. Mafe exploded onto the scene during the following season as a senior. During that year, he tallied 78 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and four sacks. Mafe earned second team All-State defense honors and KARE 11 All-Metro defense honors as a senior. Furthermore, he was named to the 2016 MFCA All-Star team.
Scout rated him as a three-star recruit coming out of high school. Mafe was also ranked as the number one defensive end coming out of the state of Minnesota. To boot, he was ranked as the 76th best player at his position in the nation.
Mafe took a redshirt and did not play at all during the 2017 season after joining the Minnesota Golden Gophers program. In 2018, he was able to appear in 10 games and recorded 12 tackles. Mafe appeared in all 13 games in 2019 and saw his production increase. Specifically in terms of making plays in the backfield, Mafe made more of an impact in that area. He finished with 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
The 2020 season was limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Mafe had one of his most beneficial stretch runs in a short span. He played in six games total and tallied 27 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
Mafe was able to become a consistent starter throughout most of the 2021 season. In 13 games played and nine starts, he set a new single season career best in tackles (34, with 26 solo tackles). On the other hand, Mafe led the team in tackles for loss (10) and sacks (seven). He also forced a fumble. Mafe was able to earn second team All-Big Ten honors for 2021.
Instead of listing positives and negatives for traits, this year we will be listing the best trait of each prospect and work our way down to the biggest area of improvement/absent trait(s), from top to bottom.
First Step Explosiveness
Mafe is a rare pass rusher who possesses both long speed and short area burst. As we will get to, he can certainly bend around the corner. However, Mafe is incredibly dangerous for opposing offensive linemen, due to his ability to explode vertically against their pass sets. He can get around blockers before they may have completely got out of their stance and into their sets. On the flip side, Mafe controls his speed so well. He is able to find a second gear if initially slowed down by an opposing blocker, for example, as a pass rusher. Or as a run defender, he will remain patient and wait until the right moment to fire up the field to cut off running backs. This forces them to cut back runs to the inside.
It is not just the fact that Mafe can bend around the corner. But, he does so very efficiently and attempts to do so while using as few of steps as possible. He is also able to compact his body and dip below the pads or shoulders of opposing offensive linemen. On top of that, Mafe showed that he can squeeze in between two blockers when collapsing toward the inside shoulder of offensive tackles. This defender has the ankle flexion to recover and wind around blockers, if he is thrown off of his immediate course. Mafe showed more smooth movement skills as his Minnesota career grew on.
Mafe has plenty of hand counter moves that he is sufficient with. Overall, his swim move is extremely swift at the point of attack. He is also highly proficient with the club and rip move and the dip and rip move. Elsewhere, Mafe has shown steady improvement with his long arm move. When it comes to his bull rush, he can surprise opponents. This is due to Mafe’s sneaky good core strength and hand placement. He could still stand to string moves together longer throughout the elongated plays more often. Though, Mafe is largely comfortable with needing to pull out any move.
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Mainly, Mafe is urgent with his reactions to blockers in one-on-one matchups. He recognizes play direction early on during the rep. There is a noticeable attention to detail that Mafe displayed when looking to stop ball carriers. For instance, he does well to focus on the opponents’ hips and chest. This allows him to remain focused and not get fooled by fakes or double moves. Specifically on run plays, Mafe stays reserved in his edge spot. He does not get caught in no man’s land or by going too far up the field.
Mafe appears to have the length that NFL teams long for. That allows him to check many boxes in a possible team’s eyes, before he even steps on the field, so to speak. He also showed that he can affect the opposing offense in numerous ways. Because of his length, Mafe was able to disrupt quarterback’s passes and take away possible throwing windows. He also showed an ability to slow down running backs by landing a stiff shot, even if he was still being blocked. The runner’s path or lane was affected, despite Mafe not being able to completely land a tackle attempt.
Mafe sets a firm, rough edge on the outer part of the line of scrimmage. He seemingly showed more consistency with being able to deconstruct from blocks and gain separation in the last couple of years. Mafe does a good job of remaining in his run fit. At the same time, he proved that he is capable of clogging up or muddying the line of scrimmage or possible holes. Mafe uses a tremendous tackling form and strike zone that suffocates opposing ball carriers.
Impressively, Mafe showed an ability to drop into coverage and carry routes in the flats. He travels across the line of scrimmage smoothly. The same thing can be said when Mafe attempts to cross the face of opposing blockers. In addition to that clean footwork, this defender uses explosive, long strides. It helps him make stops in space or on plays that require him to work with backside pursuit.
The combination of athleticism and effort that Mafe has could allow to play a more expanded role as his professional career grows. He certainly has a hot motor that does not slow down. It is just hard to envision him in a diverse role entering the league, because of his prowess as a pure pass rusher. He mainly rushes out of a two-point stance, and rarely, if ever, ran out of a three-point stance. Mafe could be limited to certain alignments upfront as well, given his size.
As we have stated heavily in recent days, the Kansas City Chiefs appear to be undergoing a slight change in philosophy. Especially on defense, there appears to be an urge to get more athletic, more explosive and more diverse. Boye Mafe fits that modification to a tee. His production may be slightly lacking, compared to other pass rushers that could go in the first round. Nevertheless, Mafe has showed constant improvement and most of his best football is likely ahead of him.
Mafe’s speed, wide array of pass rush hand counter moves, and length make him a tantalizing addition for someone like Kansas City. That kind of play style could complement the power of Chris Jones and Frank Clark extremely well in 2022. Mafe’s ability to defend the run could also give him a leg up on other potential early round options at the position in Kansas City’s eyes.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs draft prospect profiles throughout this spring. 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.
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