Boye Mafe | Minnesota 6’4” 261 lbs. | 11/30/1998 (Age 23)
Boye Mafe was drafted with the 8th pick of the second round by the Seattle Seahawks, becoming the 7th edge defender and the 40th overall player in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Mafe was a three-star recruit from Hopkins, Minnesota who opted to play for his home-state team, the Golden Gophers. The redshirt senior took time to develop and emerge at the University of Minnesota despite an athletic profile extraordinary in the Twin Cities. He started 13 of a possible 19 games in his last two seasons according to The Football Database, collecting 61 tackles including 15.5 for loss and 11.5 QB sacks.
Mafe, whose parents are natives of Nigeria, earned Academic All-Big-Ten recognition and was named National Team Player of the Game in this winter’s Senior Bowl. According to scouts, he’s a player still learning both his craft and how to utilize his athleticism to its full advantage.
At 6’ 4” 261 lbs., Mafe has the frame of an NFL defensive end. His athletic testing points to enormous pro upside. He checked in with a 40-yard dash time of 4.53, a 38” vertical, and a 10’ 5” broad jump; however, he skipped the agility drills. With a Relative Athletic Score of 9.91 out of 10, Mafe ranked 2nd in a deep class of potential NFL-caliber edge defenders.
Rapid Reaction to Draft Capital: Good
Rapid Reaction to Landing Spot: Very Good
Mafe was selected with the 40th-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
Mafe is the latest effort by the Seahawks to identify an impact pass rusher. The team has repeatedly used high draft picks and free-agent dollars with relatively little results to show for their investments. Mafe will enter a crowded room of edge defenders in training camp without a clear lead dog. Mafe is certain to play the lesser part of a rotation early in his career, but the players ahead of him on the depth chart could be fairly easily overcome. His challenge is his own pace of development.
The Seahawks deploy a 4-3 defense with one edge defender that splits wide and is tasked with getting to the quarterback with reckless abandon known as a LEO (left end outside). The other edge is the strong-side linebacker (SAM). The latter has more responsibility and requires greater field awareness. The SAM spot has been the tougher of the two to fill for the team. Mafe’s combination of smarts, speed, and burst might be the solution the Seahawks need.
Mafe is a draftable player in IDP dynasty leagues that require nine or more starting defenders and adequate roster sizes to hold players while they develop. He’s unlikely to emerge as a quality fantasy option in 2022 but could be worth a spot start late in the season if he can minimize rookie mistakes at SAM and earn significant snaps. He has the upside to become a good second EDGE defender in typical fantasy leagues in time.
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