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2021 NFL scouting report: New Falcons OL Jalen Mayfield

Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith decide to get big and mean upfront with their 3rd round pick.

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

With the 68th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons decided to continue to add to their offensive line by drafting Jalen Mayfield.

Mayfield was a four star prospect, according to 247 Sports, coming out of Catholic Central High School, where he played on both sides of the ball. Mayfield started out at Michigan seeing playing time at LT before eventually settling in and starting at RT all 13 games in his sophomore year. During his time at RT in 2019, Mayfield earned All-Big Ten honorable mention honors and was tested against some of the best pass rushers in college football, particularly Chase Young and Yetur Gross-Matos. Mayfield only played 2 games at RT in 2020 before an injury sidelined him and shortened his season.

Here’s my evaluation of Jalen Mayfield and his potential fit on the Falcons offense.

Jalen Mayfield scouting report

Player Height/Weight: 6’5” – 326 lbs

Games Watched: vs. Penn State (2019), vs. Ohio State (2019), Vs. Minnesota (2020)

Strengths

  • Ample NFL size and functional strength
  • Athleticism that makes him scheme versatile
  • Moves well in space and has good lateral mobility and agility
  • Gets out of stance well in the running game
  • Shows an ability to wall off defenders to create running lanes
  • Shows good and violent initial punch
  • Shows the ability to anchor against the bull rush
  • Physical blocker with a nasty disposition; plays to the whistle
  • Shows good positional awareness in the run and pass game
  • Adequate length to play OG in the NFL

Weaknesses

  • Very raw and inexperienced with only 15 starts at Michigan
  • Has a tendency to lunge at defenders in space, which can throw him off balance
  • Susceptible to speed rushers as his feet can be sloppy on his kick slide
  • Needs to work on keeping his hands inside in regards to sustaining blocks
  • Needs to be more consistent in firming his base upon contact

How he fits with the Falcons

Out of all of the picks of the 2021 draft by Fontenot and the Falcons, this is the only head scratcher for me. In my opinion, Jalen Mayfield is purely a projection based pick based on his future potential in the 3rd round where I felt there were better, more refined OL that could’ve contributed immediately at that position.

That being stated, I do like Mayfield’s strength, demeanor, size and athleticism as a guard, as he will have a higher ceiling playing there as opposed to playing tackle. Atlanta seems to have drafted him to kick him inside, which is a good move for his future.

Mayfield is still learning the nuances of playing up front, but there’s no denying that he certainly showed improvement in 2020 before his season was shortened due to injury. Plus, at the very young age of 20 yaers old, Mayfield should be a sponge and should definitely be considered the future at the left guard position.

Jalen Mayfield has all the tools to be a very productive guard, in other words, but given the position switch and his inexperience, I don’t see him making an impact until at least his second season on the roster.