Falcons: Why it isn't time to give up on Jalen Mayfield quite yet

Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

To say that Jalen Mayfield was bad during his rookie season for the Atlanta Falcons would be an understatement. He was a turnstile as a blocker through the whole year and it unsurprisingly drew the ire of the fans.

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Then his second season saw him on the injured reserve for the entire season as the Falcons weren't in a rush to send him back out onto the field despite having numerous injuries at the left guard position. There is reason to wonder if his career is nearing an end but I don't think it is high time to totally give up on him—which is also a sentiment that the Falcons are following after moving him back to the position he primarily played at Michigan.

Why Jalen Mayfield's career with the Atlanta Falcons isn't over yet

I am right there with everyone else who watched Jalen Mayfield during his rookie season. He could not block anyone, that is for sure. However, it isn't fair to totally cast him off quite yet as the Atlanta Falcons are holding out some hope that he can at least do something for this team after being drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Jalen played a total of 935 snaps at the University of Michigan, 37 were at left tackle while the other 898 were at right tackle. His 37 snaps on the left side all came during his first season in 2018. So, what does that mean?

It means he was thrown right into the fire in the NFL. He was the starting left guard from game one against a solid Eagles front. He not only had to play a position he hadn't played, but he also had to play on the opposite side.

You might think that is easy, but ask any linemen and they will tell you it isn't. The fact of the matter is that some players can still play well when they switch sides/positions and some can't. I think we can all agree that Mayfield probably falls into the latter.

Now the Falcons are moving him to right tackle (which is the smart move). The Falcons didn't move him inside for no reason though as he does not have good measurables. His wingspan and arm length are both under the 15th percentile. But guess who else is in that same boat? Kaleb McGary. And while it took McGary a number of years to play well, he has still proven that he can do it.. Granted, McGary is a much more fluid athlete.

Also, consider what type of offense Mayfield was playing in his rookie season. The Falcons were pass-heavy with Matt Ryan at quarterback and had little success on the ground. Mayfield was actually decent as a run blocker in 2021.

I guarantee that if he would have been a rookie this past season, his season would not have been nearly as bad (in no way am I saying he would have been great either).

All of this is to point out that there is a chance he sticks around in 2023. Fans have essentially cut him off the roster even though there is the chance that he sticks around as a depth piece. The release of Germain Ifedi speaks volumes. It might just mean that they believe in Mayfield.

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