Is Jalen Mayfield a safe first round pick for Chicago Bears?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Jalen Mayfield was ranked the top offensive prospect in Michigan the year he graduated high school, and he saw himself attending the University of Michigan the next season. Mayfield played just one game at left tackle as a true freshman but burst onto the scene with a strong sophomore campaign at right tackle.

The combination of COVID and the Big 10 being uneasy about returning led to Mayfield playing just two games at right tackle as a junior. Have the Chicago Bears seen enough to where they are comfortable drafting him in round one, or will he fall past them?

Jalen Mayfield provides NFL caliber strengths

If you are looking for a tough, nasty right tackle, Mayfield is your man. He prides himself in finishing his blocks and does not mind landing on you as he takes you down. In pass protection, Mayfield does a nice job of staying square and providing a strong base, which really helps him against bull rushes.

He provides excellent awareness for his experience level and does a great job passing off blockers and picking up blitzes. Speaking of age, Mayfield will be just 20 years old when he is drafted, making him one of the youngest players in the draft. That brings a much higher upside to his projection.

Weaknesses Jalen Mayfield must address in the NFL

The biggest question teams will have with Mayfield is his length. Some scouts question if life at guard is better served for him. At times, he can let defenders get their hands into him and work him to the outside. Length is a question, but his foot quickness may also lead to him playing guard in the NFL.

Mayfield is strong and plants a good base, but he can beat around the edge by longer striders. He has executed blocks at the second level, but at times is slow to get to the second level, and will miss his mark. His upside comes in his age, but the question is if he has the athletic ceiling to add to his polished game.

NFL Comparison for Jalen Mayfield

Rob Havenstein was a Big 10 tackle who did not have quite the adequate length of your traditional tackle. However, Havenstein was a forceful blocker and still has a nasty edge to him that his extended his career for six years, and going on seven. In the PFF draft guide, they noted that Mayfield has an issue with overextending, and the draft reports of Havenstein had the same issue.

Havenstein can lose here and there against the elite pass rushers and is not an All-Pro candidate. However, his combination of physicality, smarts, and power as a run blocker has looked at as a reliable right tackle option in the NFL for over six years now.

Mayfield may not be the elite game-changer and will lose on occasion to the Danielle Hunter type stars. However, he will bring a toughness and reliability factor that is needed.

Would Jaylen Mayfield be a fit with the Chicago Bears?

It is clear that the Chicago Bears have a need at right tackle. They cannot trust Bobby Massie to stay healthy and maybe letting him go soon anyway. With that in mind, they could be looking for Jaylen Mayfield to step in and start.

On one hand, they could trust that he would be able to step in and understand the angles, protections, and physicality of the game. The question with Mayfield is the upside.

On one end, you have a 20-year old with limited experience, but the tape speaks to an NFL veteran. Imagine what he can become with maturing and experience. On the other, he does not have the athletic gifts and length, and there is a question if that will ever come with age. Is drafting a top 10-15 right tackle in the NFL worth it, or should they swing for a higher upside chance, even knowing how safe Mayfield is?

Next. Christian Darrisaw draft profile. dark

We know Ryan Pace usually uses his first-round pick to swing for the fences, and Mayfield is a clean double in the gap. The Chicago Bears are unlikely to see Mayfield in round two, so it does become a question if they buck their trend and take the safe player in round 1.