2021 NFL Draft
Michigan OT Jalen Mayfield’s Versatility Gives Him Draft Value; Met with Steelers
Michigan offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield only started 15 games in college, but is still projected to be a highly-sought-after draft pick due to his versatility as an offensive lineman.
Mayfield played three games at left tackle his freshman year, then started his entire sophomore year at right tackle, earning an All-Big Ten honorable mention. In 2020, during Michigan’s abbreviated season, Mayfield started the first two games at right tackle.
“I’m able to play any of the five positions up front,” Mayfield said. “I’m able to play guard, center, tackle, but I’m pretty comfortable playing the left. My freshman year, I played left tackle and then the last two years I played right tackle, so I’m really comfortable with both sides. I think the more versatile you are, the better chance you have at lasting longer in the NFL. I don’t see much of a big difference. Of course, there’s a little bit of a difference footwork-wise, but I don’t see much difference.”
The 6-foot-5, 326-pound junior added that playing in the Big Ten in general was a large help in improving his game due to the talent level he faced on a weekly basis.
“Especially last year, playing against some of the best competition in the country, came strictly from our conference and I felt when I went against whatever team it was, it forced me to do my best and really put pressure on me to perform, so I felt like any time I’m put in pressure situations, I can have past experiences to fall back on.”
Mayfield said it was a crazy year trying to figure things out with COVID limitations, but ultimately had to build experience.
“Once the season got canceled, I kind of already had in my head that I wanted to come out this year, but once football was reinstated for the Big Ten, it was a no-brainer for me. I’m one of the least experienced guys in the draft, so getting more playing time and more snaps under my belt could really help me. I felt like playing those two games that I did really helped me and showed people I can be more consistent and just got overall better as a player.”
At Michigan’s Pro Day on March 26, Mayfield ran a 5.31 40-yard dash, a 4.91 short shuttle, and a 7.86 three-cone. He said he’s spoken with the Steelers, who could view him as an option with them No. 24 overall pick.