Jalen Mayfield - OT, Michigan
By the numbers:
6'5", 320 pounds
All-Big Ten honoree in 2019. Two games played in 2020.
Michigan's Jalen Mayfield is a very good athlete at the tackle position and also has the skills and size necessary to move inside to guard if needed. He's a terrific run blocker who moves well in space, climbs to the second level of the defense with ease and drives defenders out of the equation. Mayfield is comfortable pulling and lead-blocking and has a good understanding of gaps and assignments. His football IQ is high.
Unlike many other prospects, speed rushers aren't much of an issue for Mayfield. He can handle speed moves due to his quick reaction time and plus lateral agility and overall mobility. He constantly seeks out additional work and puts forth maximum effort on every snap. Mayfield started just 15 games in college and is oozing with potential.
Hand usage and hand placement are concerns for Mayfield. His foundation remains strong, but he fails to use his length to his advantage. When he feels himself getting beat, he tends to lunge at his assignment rather than using an alternative recovery method. There may be some initial growing pains as savvier pass-rushers get the best of Mayfield, but those poor reps shouldn't last for long.
While Mayfield certainly isn't weak and does have great size, he doesn't do particularly well with bull-rush moves and needs to improve his play strength. Getting low, setting a firm anchor and greeting EDGE players with a punch will help. Mayfield is a nasty run defender, so being taught to translate that mean streak to the passing game should be something he can do without much trouble.
How Mayfield fits with the Chiefs:
The Chiefs need a ton of offensive line help this offseason and value versatility in their linemen. Mayfield has some experience on the left side of the line and although he's a right tackle heading into the draft, transitioning to left tackle is definitely an option. He has the ability to handle that move better than someone like Lucas Niang, who may be the team's starting right tackle in 2021. Mayfield moves well and should thrive in a zone-run scheme similar to what the Chiefs use, and he's a quality pass protector with skills that play well from any alignment.
Mayfield is a good athlete who holds his own in the passing game and is a stellar run blocker. His hands need improvement and once he settles into a defined position at the next level, his play strength should follow suit. With that said, all of his minor concerns are fixable and his ability to play either tackle spot is extremely valuable. Mayfield grades out as a late first-round pick — a top-40 selection at worst — with a very high ceiling that the Chiefs should consider banking on.