NFL Hot Press: Teams Split on Mafe

Teams Split on Mafe

Updated April 7, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

So far during the leadup to the 2022 NFL Draft, some mock drafts have projected Minnesota defensive end Boye Mafe as a first-round pick. As a senior, Mafe totaled 34 tackles, seven sacks and one forced fumble. While Mafe does not have standout size for an edge defender at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, he has speed to along with pass-rush production. Mafe could be in the mix to go in the first round because Michigan’s David Ojabo is likely to slide after suffering an injury at his pro day. NFL team sources who spoke with were evenly split 50-50 on whether team evaluators thought Mafe would be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

“Yes, I think he could go late one,” said a NFC director of player personnel. “He is more team and scheme specific. It could be a pick like the Ravens taking Oweh last year.”

One college director had a similar inclination about Mafe having first-round potential.

“Mafe going in the first is possible,” said an AFC director of college scouting. “It depends on need/depth/scheme at that point. He’s not an elite pass rusher but has tools.”

A few were not believers in Mafe ending up as first-round selection.

“Not in my book,” said a NFC director of college scouting. “He’s a little too plain Jane left defensive end for me to take there. Plus, the [5.00-second 40] at the pro day all but kills that ideal, and he struggles to learn.”

Every year there are some players with second-round grades who are taken on Day 1 because teams do not typically have 32 players with a first-round grade. Mafe could be one of those bubble players who is viewed as a second-rounder but might sneak into the opening night of the 2022 NFL Draft.