Another viable option at Offensive Tackle in the first round for the Green Bay Packers, Jalen Mayfield.
Jalen Mayfield – OT, Michigan, 6’5″, 320 lbs
Jalen Mayfield is another Offensive Tackle in this year’s draft that has gotten high praise and has lots of upside. Mayfield started 15 total games for Michigan. Just two of those came in the 2020 season, which obviously had a number of games canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as shortened seasons from the jump that consisted of conference-only play.
The other 13 starts came in his Sophomore season in 2019. All of Mayfield’s starts in the trenches came at the right tackle position – a position that might be of need for the Packers. The amount of film on Mayfield is limited with the small sample size of games he has under his belt, but the Michigan man has many believing he can be a quality NFL lineman drafted in the first round.
A big strength in Mayfield’s game is how well he sustains blocks in the running game in particular. He moves very well while engaged with defenders, keeps guys in front of him, and his hands are usually within the inside framework of defenders. Mayfield is also fairly quick to reach the second level to take on an LB.
Mayfield is not one who completely pushes his defenders out of the play itself, but rather wall them away from it as he is able to anchor himself in place. A game in particular that stood out for Mayfield was the 2020 Citrus Bowl against Alabama. All of his run blocking skills were on full display, and we were able to see him have success in pass protection. Mayfield looked nimble on his feet against Alabama and recovered well when defenders attempted to change direction, especially from outside to inside on Mayfield.
Arguably one of the biggest knocks on Mayfield right now is there is not a whole lot of experience in comparison to some of the other tackles. Players like Alex Leatherwood, who I took a brief look into last week, have appeared in 40+ games where there is lots of film to scrub through. We don’t have that in Mayfield, which might be concerning.
You can only judge what he’s put out on the field, but it’s a fair point to mention the lack of experience at the Division I level. Mayfield had some rough snaps in 2019 vs Chase Young and the Buckeyes front in the passing game. What he was doing well in the running game was not consistent with his pass blocking. In many instances it seemed Mayfield was struggling to keep up against OSU.
There were multiple times where Mayfield was getting beat both inside and along the edge, and a couple of plays where I thought he got away with holding calls. To finally stop beating a dead horse, Mayfield’s rawness in pass protection were put on display in last season’s game against the Buckeyes.
To sum up Jalen Mayfield in one word, it would be ‘potential’. Mayfield has the potential to be a quality lineman in the NFL, but definitely has some work to do and improve if he wants to become a viable starter in the NFL. Mayfield may have had a rough go against some competition like OSU, but had good showings against teams like Alabama and Notre Dame in the 2019-2020 season and Minnesota in 2020-21.
Mayfield only playing two games this past season complicates things a little bit in terms of an accurate evaluation, especially when it comes to how he has developed in pass blocking situations. Nonetheless, Mayfield is an interesting prospect that has some tools teams like Green Bay can work to refine in hopes of developing a great player.