NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa
It could be the fact that he plays football in Pullman, Washington, where the normal national television audience misses most of his games. It could be the fact that as recent as 2010 he was playing basketball for a community college. Potentially, it’s because people view him as “a system guy”, whatever that means anymore. Combine these factors with the phenomenal depth of this wide receiver draft class, and it can be easy to see why Vince Mayle has not been receiving much attention.
Mayle stands 6’3” weighing 220 pounds with great athleticism. On paper anyway, Mayle seems like an ideal NFL prospect. He is a unique player however, as he doesn’t have a play style that would be customary to a player with his size.
With more of a finesse approach, Mayle is a smooth glider with improving route running ability. Mayle won’t be in contention for those Porsche 911’s for running one of the three fastest 40 yard dash times at the combine, sure. But for a player of his size his acceleration is superb and has good enough top end speed to win over the top of defensive backfields.
One thing that has stood out to me over and over on film is his good hard breaks out of routes. For a guy with as little experience as he has, he has shown nice fluidity in his routes and creates pretty solid separation – something he needed to do at Washington State.
Utah was not his best game for the Cougars – but I’d say it was his gutsiest. The Utes did a nice job containing Mayle for most of the game using a variety of coverage schemes such as jamming and re-routing as well as soft coverage over the top. Particularly early on, Wazoo struggled breaking the 10 yard ceiling the Utes placed on their passing attack.
However it was when Mayle escaped in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown with his team down 17 late in the third quarter that turned the tide. Later on while facing press coverage, Mayle brushed the cornerback off with an out-and-in release, proceeded to make a safety miss in the open and took it 79 yards to the house for the eventual game winning touchdown.
I really dove into the Oregon film and his battle with (before his injury) my top cornerback in the draft, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. The two weren’t always lined up with one another, but when they were the advantage went to Mayle. Again he exhibited his great burst out of his breaks creating separation. His biggest strength right now in the infant stages of his football career is his after the catch ability. Mayle shows great elusiveness in the open field, and isn’t afraid to drop the boom every now and then. When he was hit in stride (not often, watch any Wazoo game and your’ll see for yourself) Mayle was a real weapon and normally got the most out of the play. Defensive backs tend to shy away from #1 when they get the chance. He also tracks the ball extremely well, particularly over the shoulder.
My main problems with Mayle essentially boil down to his in-experience. He tends to run routes short at times on third down – which is more of a pet peeve to me then parking tickets. Last year he dropped one pass for every thirteen catches. That isn’t horrendous, especially for a guy as new to the big stage as he is, but that still needs to get taken care of. He also needs to polish up his run blocking. At times he shows he is more then capable, and at other times he completely whiffs. The one thing all of these flaws have in common is that Mayle can improve on all of them as he continues to play the game.
Where will he fit?
This wide receiver class may not have any Odell Beckham Jr.’s in it, but the 2015 class has the potential to match the overall quality that the 2014 class brought to the table. As I see it, there are four solid first round guys here. Amari Cooper, Kevin White, Dorial Green-Beckham, and DeVante Parker are all in my upper tier, and there’s a somewhat significant gap to my next group of receivers. I’m a big fan of Arizona State product Jaelen Strong as well as Ohio State deep threat Devin Smith.
This is where I’m going to need you to hold your laugh. I have Vince Mayle ahead of the rest of the field (Devin Funchess not included, view him as a hybrid if anything else). I do like Sammie Coates from Auburn. I think Justin Hardy (ECU) and Nelson Agholor (USC) will have solid NFL careers ahead as well. I personally just think the sky is the limit on Vince Mayle, which is why I have him rated higher then just about anyone else. I think he would go somewhere in the 5th round or so if the draft was tonight, I’d feel comfortable taking him much sooner then that.
He is in the infant stages of his career and has already has shown flashes of excellence. Don’t give me this “Mike Leech System” crap , either. Yes – his catch totals are completely aided by the various screens and short routes Wazoo runs. But have I once mentioned in this article how Mayle broke almost every meaningful Washington State receiving record this year? 106 catches, 1,483 yards and 9 touchdowns. Not bad for your second year in D-1A.
What makes me a Vince Mayle believer is his supreme athletic ability combined with continued improvement. He tracks the ball beautifully and is a force with the football in his hands. I don’t expect him to be a major contributor right away as he is still pretty raw and needs to iron some things out. However he seems to only get better and better – and I believe this former community college basketball player has his very best days ahead of him.