Assuming that the Las Vegas Raiders decide to draft a pass rusher in April’s NFL draft, Minnesota’s Boye Mafe would be worth a look.
We all know the Raiders have two foundational pass rushers in Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. Neither of them is going anywhere, if anything, they could thrive under a new defensive coordinator. Nevertheless, the defensive line sack totals were mediocre, and it seems like everyone but Ferrell regressed. Arden Key had a grand total of zero sacks while Carl Nassib had two and a half. The Raiders will have to generate more than 21 sacks next year if they want to be competitive.
A new defensive strategy, scheme, and philosophy will surely help alleviate some of the Raiders’ defensive shortcomings. On the other hand, Raiders brass will need young and explosive talent to execute such a change. Mafe Mafe would provide said explosiveness and youth if the team considers him in April.
What can Mafe do for the Raiders?
The six-foot-four and 265-pound defender had a solid collegiate career for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. However, it was his redshirt junior season that’s put him on the map this year. In six games, Mafe accumulated 18 solo tackles, five and a half tackles for a loss, and four and a half sacks. On top of solid pass-rushing production, Mafe also demonstrated the ability to help create turnovers. He tacked on two forced fumbles and two passes defensed to his resume.
Pro Football Focus also kept tabs on Maye’s overall grades these past three seasons. In that span, his was graded 82.2, 77.2, and 71.0. His pass-rushing abilities are clearly his best attribute coming into the NFL. PFF also spotlighted his skills in that department with an impressive 85.8 grade.
This year, #Gophers pass rusher Boye Mafe is poised to make noise in the Big Ten.@DanielHouseNFL compared Mafe’s testing metrics to 1,318 defensive ends from 1987 to 2020. His closest athletic comparison is very interesting…
— Gophers Guru (@GophersGuru) September 21, 2020
What does the film say about Mafe?
Mafe’s explosive burst off the line of scrimmage, as he obliterates offensive linemen, is impressive. He has the type of motor you want in an edge defender, not stopping until he’s laid his hands on the quarterback. Hopefully, Mafe’s spin move can translate into the NFL versus professional tackles. In the Big Ten, he ran circles around tackles as you can see in his film, this type of speed cant be coached and should be noted.
Mafe mostly lined up in a 3-4 defense, however, considering his speed he could play on the outside in a 4-3 set. He also dropped back in coverage as an outside linebacker in those scenarios, where he earned a 65.8 PFF coverage grade in 2020. Based on his skill set, the Raiders would be better off strictly using him coming off the edge. If he’s available in the middle rounds, the Silver and Black should pounce on him.
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*Top Photo: University of Minnesota Athletics