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Dec 28, 2021; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive lineman Boye Mafe (34) celebrates a play against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the first half of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers own two picks in the first round (Nos. 22 and 28) of the 2022 NFL draft. In this “Packers draft profile” series, we will look at several options for Green Bay in the first round and dissect their collegiate careers, highlight reel and how they would fit with the team.

In this edition, we look at Minnesota defensive end Boye Mafe.

OVERVIEW

A standout week at the 2022 Senior Bowl and impressive showing at the NFL scouting combine catapulted Mafe to Day 1 territory. In Indianapolis, Mafe measured in at 6-foot-4, 261 pounds, ran the fourth-fastest 40-yard dash among defensive ends and tied for the third-best vertical jump.

In four seasons for the Gophers, Mafe registered 87 total tackles, including 19.5 for a loss, 15 sacks and three forced fumbles. He led the team in tackles behind the line of scrimmage (10) and sacks (7) in 2021.

Mafe’s first two college seasons were relatively quiet but in six games in 2020, he began to realize his power. Within the first three contests of his redshirt junior season, Mafe matched his career sack total of 3 1/2. He added another in the penultimate game of 2020 and set a career high with seven tackles, including one for a loss, in the finale against rival Wisconsin. Mafe carried that momentum into a full slate of games in 2021 – by the fifth game of the season he had five sacks, resetting his highwater mark.

Mafe has more potential than production at this stage, but that’s OK because of his freakish traits. He’s explosive with one hand in the dirt or can angle in off the edge out of a two-point stance.

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COMBINE RESULTS

40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds

Bench press: N/A

Vertical jump: 38 inches

Broad jump: 125 inches

3-cone drill: N/A

20-yard shuttle: N/A

FILM ROOM

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“Mafe's evaluation requires the evaluator to focus more closely on the flashes than just the play-to-play action. His combination of rare explosive measurables with average fundamentals could make for a perfect storm of rapid development once he gets focused skill work at the pro level. His footwork is average and he lacks desired instincts as a rusher, but pairing efficient hand work with twitchy upper-body power could turn him into a productive rush bully. He has the traits and toughness to develop into an above-average starter as a 4-3 base end.” – Lance Zierlein

“Mafe played both with his hand in the dirt and from a stand-up alignment at Minnesota. While effective at both for different reasons, he often looked more explosive with his hand in the ground when he could really pin his ears back. From there, Mafe shows impressive body control and flexibility, particularly with respect to being able to get low and gain the leverage advantage. His leg drive and balance to finish out pass-rushing reps from there comes and goes, but the fact he can get to that point consistently is encouraging. Mafe also shows good preemptive hand usage, regularly knocking down the hands of offensive tackles with a variety of moves to keep blockers out of his frame. On the flip side, he shows little proactive hand usage and does not have much pop when he is the first to engage right now, but at least he does well to keep people off of him.” – Derrik Klassen

“Mafe is as explosive as advertised on the field. He sports a torrid first step off the line, accelerating upfield quickly. His sheer explosiveness allows him to shoot through lanes and destroy blocking angles, and his closing acceleration, combined with his length, makes him difficult to evade as a pursuit defender. As explosive as Mafe is, he’s not just a straight-line athlete. He has the lateral athleticism to veer across gaps and manipulate leverage at a moment’s notice. He’s also a twitched-up athlete who’s surprisingly sudden for his 6’4″, 255-pound frame. Mafe has a ton of potential energy stored within his frame on any given snap. He can use that twitch to generate displacement and explode around the edge. Mafe might not have elite length, but he’s still above-average in that category. And his length and burst combine to form great power capacity.” – Ian Cummings

HOW HE FITS

Edge help isn’t Green Bay’s most dire need, but that doesn’t decrease its importance in today’s NFL, which is loaded with high-octane passing attacks. Mafe is less polished than some of the other pass-rushers in the 2022 class – long admired for its depth on the edge – but he’s one of the more explosive prospects and could develop into a fearsome defender if he lands in the right environment. Mafe makes sense for the Packers, specifically, because he could bide time for starter reps behind Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, while further learning the tricks of his trade and buffing his game.

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