Falcons: Jalen Mayfield hasn’t been as bad as we all think, he’s been worse

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The Falcons were dominated in the trenches last Sunday by the Panthers; both the offensive and defensive lines for Atlanta underperformed. Head coach Arthur Smith pointed this out and knows his team has to improve in this area. “You’ve got to give Carolina credit,” he said after the game. “They beat us on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football…”

Chris Lindstrom and Jake Matthews have been the line’s best individuals, but both reliable players were the opposite against Carolina. Lindstrom has become an elite-level guard in this league but struggled this past week, posting a 47.5 pass block grade. The group’s stalwart in Jake Matthews was even more disappointing after grading out a season-low 48.7 overall, including a 34.0 pass block grade.

Moreover, Jalen Mayfield was lost, which is nothing new. He graded out a 45.4 PFF grade, which is higher than his season grade of 38.8, but his pass blocking grade was an abysmal 27.8. Even though he’s a rookie, Mayfield has played exceptionally poorly. His 38.8 grade for the season ranks him the 73rd out of 74 eligible guards in the NFL.

The following statistic proves Mayfield hasn’t been as bad as we all think… he’s been worse.

There are no questions as to whether the Falcons need to replenish their offensive line. When Matt Ryan is upright, he’s been an excellent quarterback. It all starts with Jalen Mayfield, Matt Hennessy, and Kaleb McGary‘s poor pass blocking. Sure, Mayfield is a rookie and learning a new position, but there are plenty of rookie guards exceeding expectations.

Trey Smith, who the Chiefs drafted in the sixth round, has been the steal of the draft. Royce Newman, who the Packers selected in the fourth round, has started every game in Green Bay and has been touted by the media and teammates alike for his unexpected contributions. In the fourth round, the Steelers selected Dan Moore, who some call a diamond in the rough.

There are three examples of rookie guards succeeding in the NFL that were taken AFTER Jalen Mayfield. The Falcons may have whiffed on this third round pick, but to end on a positive note, the former Michigan Wolverine has incrementally improved each week.






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