The Giants have dealt with a bevy of injuries this season, particularly along the offensive line. Shorthanded, New York was forced to make a couple of practice squad elevations for their game against the Dolphins on Sunday, and one is an old friend of the Falcons — Jalen Mayfield.
The 2021 third-round pick was initially thrust into the starting lineup as a rookie, where he struggled mightily, and that may be an understatement. Some metrics had him graded as the worst lineman in all of football.
However, that’s not to say he couldn’t develop into a solid player. Development is never linear in this league, especially among offensive linemen. A full offseason was supposed to benefit Mayfield, but a back injury kept him out all of last season.
Coming into this season, his standing with the Falcons was unclear. Atlanta spent a second-round pick on Syracuse tackle Matthew Bergeron, who everyone expected to kick inside to left guard. Could Mayfield stick around as a backup?
In the preseason, Mayfield didn’t look any better, particularly in pass protection. Eventually, he was waived. He was available to join another club, and the Giants signed the former Michigan tackle to their practice squad.
With starting left tackle Andrew Thomas, starting center John Michael Schmitz, and reserve interior lineman Shane Lemieux ruled out, Jalen Mayfield was once again thrust into a starting role.
Giants fans got their first taste of the Jalen Mayfield experience this past weekend. ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell pointed out what many thought to be a blunder, but it really is just who Mayfield was his entire time in Atlanta.
I have to know what 62 is doing here pic.twitter.com/2YDuQBTs0I
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 9, 2023
Even more hilarious for Falcons fans — now that it isn’t happening to their favorite team — Mayfield literally graded out at 0.0 in PFF’s pass blocking grade.
Hopefully, the Giants get healthier because Daniel Jones’ life may be in jeopardy if Jalen Mayfield is protecting him.