2020 Season Countdown: #1 Jalen Mayfield

2020 Season Countdown: #1 Jalen Mayfield

October 22, 2020
Jalen Mayfield (image via Detroit News)

Name: Jalen Mayfield
296 lbs.
High school: 
Grand Rapids (MI) Catholic Central
Offensive tackle
Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: 
Last year: 
I ranked Mayfield #30 and said he would be a backup offensive tackle (LINK). He started all thirteen games at right tackle.
TTB Rating:

Mayfield was a big question mark going into 2019, because nobody knew – including the coaches – if he was even going to be a starter. He and Andrew Stueber were in a heated battle for the starting right tackle job, and I believe Stueber was going to win. Unfortunately, Stueber tore his ACL in August, giving Mayfield the job by default.

Overall, Mayfield had a very good redshirt freshman season, even though it got off to a little bit of a rocky start early in the year. He didn’t make a lot of embarrassing mistakes, but he was a little unsure of his assignments. And he wasn’t quite as nasty as he will be as he gets older. However, he improved throughout the year, enough to be named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten.

When everyone was slated to return, I thought Mayfield was the most important guy. Michigan lost four starters on the offensive line, and Mayfield was the only guy coming back. Then the season was “canceled,” Mayfield opted to enter the 2021 draft, and Michigan had to replace all five starters . . .

. . . until Mayfield opted back in. Some people projected Mayfield as a first round pick, and others felt he would go on the second or third day. I’m guessing Mayfield will still enter the 2021 NFL Draft, but he will have an extra year of film now. I do think he has potential to be a high draft pick down the road, but I didn’t see a dominant player in 2019 that should be entering the draft so early.

Prediction: Starting right tackle


  1. Comments: 295
    Joined: 12/19/2015
    Oct 22, 2020 at 8:51 AM

    Remind us, is this “Most important to the teams success” ranking? Or “Best player at the next level” ranking? Just trying to remember the context of the list.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 22, 2020 at 10:35 AM

      Most important to the team’s success.

  2. Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Oct 22, 2020 at 11:02 AM

    Thanks for doing the countdown.

    Why do you think Mayfield is at RT? Generally the best OT plays LT.

  3. Comments: 313
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    Oct 22, 2020 at 11:12 AM

    I think this is probably our biggest disagreement in this year’s countdown. Yes the OL is new, but there are so many bodies competing. Positives: Mayfield had a great performance against Young last year, and he graded out well overall. If Mayfield was a 1st or 2nd team all-big LT I could agree with the ranking, but with the bodies on the shelf I don’t know if I could do it.

    I think the following are of greater importance to the team’s success:
    Ambry (I know he’s gone, would’ve put him at #1 this year as I don’t have a ton of faith in Gray [a taller Brandon Watson] and there hasn’t been anyone emerging after that).
    Daxton (most talented DB in a thin secondary).
    Hutchinson and Paye (thin DL, both have shown they can slide inside. I’d love to include Kemp but can’t do it because he’s definitely shown he’s capable, but not dominant at this point in his career).

    With known departures I would now slot the unknown Joe Milton ahead of him too.

    Thank you for this and every year’s countdown. It’s a joy to read and something to look forward to every day. With COVID, football uncertainty, football departures, and everything going on in everyone’s work and personal lives, this was a nice return to a modicum of normalcy, and I appreciate you offering that to us.

    • Comments: 3845
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 22, 2020 at 7:05 PM

      Bodies on the shelf doesn’t mean they’re good. We’ve seen plenty of guys take years to develop. Offensive line is the most important position group on the field outside of quarterback.

      Like I’ve mentioned, a good DL can make up for a weak secondary. There’s no making up for a weak OL. No QB and very few RBs – other than Barry Sanders – can make up for an atrocious offensive line. I don’t think Michigan’s will be atrocious, but there are going to be growing pains.

      I’m glad the site could provide some normalcy.

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