Boye Mafe – Minnesota
- 261 pounds
- 32.5-inch arms
- 4.53 forty
There is a good chance that when the Chiefs select at pick #29 that Minnesota’s Boye Mafe may be the best edge player left on the board. When compared to Johnson and Karlaftis, Mafe is much rawer. In fact, of the five players on this list, he may be the least ready to be an every-down player as a rookie. However, he may just have the highest pass-rush upside of any player on this list. That’s the dilemma with Mafe, is his upside worth it? I think there’s a higher bust potential with Mafe than the first two players on this list, but if coaches believe they can get the most out of him he could end up being a steal in the late first round.
Despite his 260-pound frame, Minnesota used Mafe more like a standup outside linebacker than a true defensive end a lot of the time. He even would drop back in coverage from time to time. You would think with his combo of size and speed that he would have been more of a force in the run game, but that’s actually one of his biggest weaknesses right now. So much so that he may be limited to just a third-down pass rush specialist early on.
Even when it comes to rushing the passer, Mafe is raw. He doesn’t have a developed set of pass rush moves. Instead, he relies on his burst and speed for a man his size. The good news is that he is special enough in that area that he can still get the job done (or at least he could in college). The things that Mafe has can’t be learned, that’s why he’s still a first-round prospect.
While the Chiefs would probably still need to add someone like Melvin Ingram if they drafted Mafe, his long-term upside at a position of major need would make him worth a late first-round pick. If Mafe can help the pass rush right away as a rookie that would be all the better.
Don’t Just Take My Word For It
I think this quote from Dane Brugler’s Draft Guide sums up where Mafe is currently at as he enters the NFL:
"Overall, Mafe isn’t yet the sum of his parts and requires further schooling as a run defender, but he can get after the passer with natural explosion in his lower body, hips and hands. He projects as a subpackage NFL rusher with starting potential as he continues to be coached up."
If you want to see what makes Mafe so appealing, look at how fast he accelerates into the quarterback after getting past the tackle in the tweet below.
Check out Mafe’s highlights HERE.
While the first three prospects on this list are guys that have gotten a lot of attention during draft season, the next prospect is flying under the radar.