The Best Receiver You Don’t Know About

NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa

Vince Mayle could be the crown jewel of the middle rounds.

Vince Mayle could be the crown jewel of the middle rounds.

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.

Mayle can be a handful with the ball in his hands.

Mayle can be a handful with the ball in his hands.

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.

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35 Responses to “The Best Receiver You Don’t Know About”

  1. J H TARBORO says:

    CJ Sousa
    WR Isaac Blakeney – Duke 6’6 225lbs. ( He has a lot of speed for his size, and has set records at Duke being part of the 4×100 relay and 200m in track&field.

  2. Belle Billichick says:

    Mayle: 4.67 40/6.93 cone/4.13 shuttle.

    Good news if you really think he is another Keenan Allen, that rare WR with substandard speed and inferior quickness who makes it big in the NFL.

    After he posted those combine numbers, your dream of drafting him in Round 5 seems realistic.

  3. KAWAME says:

    ANQUAN BOLDIN – 4.71
    DEZ BRYANT – 4.5


    • KAWAME says:


  4. Evan says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you could do write an analysis of Nebraska’s Kenny Bell as possible Patriots late-round option? He’s got the height speed ratio at 6’1″ and 4.42 while also being Nebraska’s leading receiver three years running. He’s also got some versatility as he’s a kick returner and fights for every yard possible after the catch as a result. This production, versatility, and toughness seems to scream Patriots to me. For whatever reasons, and your analysis might review this, he hasn’t gotten much attention because of a lack of bulk. Anyways, I’d love to read about him as a later round guy that the Pats could maybe pick up. Thanks.

  5. Russell says:

    Big day for Danielle Hunter DE (maybe more of an OLB) 6’5″ 252 ran a 4.57 40yd., Eli Harold DE (again more like OLB) 6’3″ 247 ran 4.60 40yd, 3 cone drill 7.07, and Preston Smith DE 6’4″ 271 ran a 4.74 also had a 7.07 3 cone time, at 271 Lbs!!!!
    Moving up my mock draft is;
    WR Kenny Bell 6’1″ 197lbs. ran a 4.42 40yd., vertical jump; 41.5″, 3 cone drill 6.66
    RB David Johnson 6′ 1/2″ 224 lbs, ran a 4.50 40yd, vertical jump, 41.5″ 3 cone, 6.82

  6. John says:

    Apparently Pats met with Shelton, Landon Collins, Eli Harold, and Shaq Thompson yesterday, and met with Schreff, Maxx Williams, Malcolm Brown, and Odighizuwa. Out of all of the those names, Collins is really interesting. He’s nothing like McCourty, but they would be an awesome pair.

    I wonder if they view Collins and Thompson as players that could have similar roles? Hybrid Safeties like Chancellor? Roam around the box and cover tight ends. McCourty, Collins, Revis, and whoever, Jesus, that’d be awesome.

    Although I’d much rather see them trade up and draft a DLineman or Edge Rusher, Collins is fun name to envision them having.

    • Russell says:

      Interestig group of prospects, the guy I see them intereted in is Eli Harold. Will be ineresting to see how he compares to Lorenzo Mauldin. Sad Davis Tull did not run the 40yd, his B-jump was 11′ and vertical 42.5.

    • Ryan says:

      Other safeties that I hope they visit with are Ibraheim Campbell and Jaquiski Tartt. These guys could play up in the box and add some physicality to the defense.

  7. Russell says:

    Prospect’s I have been highlighting;
    DE Henry Anderson 6’6″ 294 lbs has run a 4.94 40yd, with a 1.63 10 yd
    WR Kenny Bell 6’1″ 197 lbs, has run a 4.42 40yd, with a 10yd, 1.55, 3 cone 6.66,vertical 41.5
    RB David Johnson 6 1/2″ 224 lbs and a 4.50 40yd, with a 10yd, 1.58, 3 cone 6.82 , 25 bench

  8. GM-in-Training says:

    Looking at the Saturday NFL Combine results, here’s the guy I think the Patriots would like…dunno what round. Justin Hardy has raw numbers a lot like Welker and Edelman. You read the reports on him (70% of his catches went for first downs), really big reliable hands, and one of the best 3-cone times at this year’s combine.

    • jim r says:

      I like Hardy. He suffocated the ball in the gauntlet drill (great hands) however IMO wr will be a very late draft pick. 6/7th round

      • Ryan says:

        Have to disagree with that projection. Even with his weak 40 time I see him going in the 3rd-4th round because he is a polished receiver with great experience already.

        • jim r says:

          Agree with you on Hardy, I meant the Patriots will not look at WR till later rounds

        • Ryan says:

          In that case I mostly agree with you. I think the Pats could use a 4th-rounder on a WR if the right player falls to them, though.

  9. John says:

    Interesting list of early round guys that Patriots have met with at Combine:

    Malcom Brown
    Tre’ Jackson
    Owamagbe Odighizuwa
    Brandon Scherff
    Laken Tomlinson
    Maxx Williams

  10. Dan Sullivan says:

    First a detour on the draft as the Celtics have made some nice moves to make for
    some nice playoff experience for this team. Welcome to Boston Isiah Thomas.

    Latest Patriots Mock Draft
    1 Ronald Darby CB Florida St.
    2 Jeremiah Poutasi OT/G Utah
    3 Trey Flowers DE Arkansas
    3 Tony Lippett WR Michigan St.
    4 Leon Orr DT Florida
    4 Malcolm Brown RB Texas
    6 Jon Feliciano G Miami
    7 Alani Fua OLB BYU
    7 Blake Bell TE Oklahoma

  11. acm says:

    OL Jake Fisher and Ali Marpet raised their stock big time today. I had them mocked to the Pats in late 2nd and late 3rd, respectively, but I think it’s safe to say they won’t be available there now. Same can be said about Cam Erving, who may well be gone by 32nd pick.
    Daryl Williams and Laken Tomlinson also looked good and likely raised improved their draft position too.

    Even if he injured his hamstring, I have lost all hope Brandon Scherff would fall deep enough for the Pats to be able to trade up for him.
    Scherff and La’el Collins should be 1st and 2nd OL off the board, imo.

    • Russell says:

      I agree Marpet and Fisher looked very strong. I also like Laurence Gibson who will move up draft boards.

      • acm says:

        Agree about Gibson, although I don’t think he is an immediate starter in the NFL, at least not to the point where he would improve the Pats’ OL from last year. He could be a nice late round option for added depth for down the road.

        Of the lesser known names, I was also very much impressed by OL-men Mark Glowinski (an OG, very athletic altogether) and Rob Havenstein and Mitch Morse (projecting as big/tall RTs, who looked a lot better than expected, especially in the drills).

        • Russell says:

          I agree on Gibson a great prospect but not a starter. A very smart guy, be an improvement over Olineman Davey.

        • acm says:

          That’s exactly who I had in mind too. Gibson or Glowinski in the late rounds would improve the OL depth in quality a good deal.

        • John says:

          Lots of people are sleeping on Havenstein after the Senior Bowl. To be fair, almost all the tackles got abused or did poorly. Except for Collins, really, and even he didn’t dominate.

        • Ryan says:

          I was very impressed with Morse and Glowinski but Havenstein was just the opposite. He only managed 16 reps on the bench press, and though 40 times are not as important for linemen his 5.46 time did not do anything to impress me. He was a player that I was considering a sleeper but his results at the combine aren’t helping him at all.

        • acm says:

          Those numbers mean very little when it comes to how a player translates to the NFL, especially OL. The most meaningful numbers for OL today were 10-yard split, short area quickness/burst discplines, maybe vertical jump but above all – the drills. Havenstein had very respectable times/results in those and looked very, very good in the field drills.
          He is by no means an elite athlete but will make for a very good RT, imo. That’s not a position I’d say is an area of weakness for the Pats right now, though.

    • J H TARBORO says:

      ACM, their stock got raised slightly, I’m happy for Ali Marpet mainly but is still a 2nd rounder,

      • acm says:

        Never said Marpet was a 1st rounder – just that Fisher is unlikely to now be there at 64 and Marpet at 96 or whatever the Pats’s own pick in the 3rd is.
        Depending on how the rest of the process goes for Jake Fisher, he may well end up going late 1st.

        At the opposite end of the spectrum, Josue Matias very much hurt his stock today.

  12. J H TARBORO says:

    WR Mario Alford- WVU (NFLPA Bowl standout )
    WR Cam Worthy – E.Carolina
    WR Chris Conley- Georgia 6’3 205 ( NFLPA Bowl standout )
    WR RJ Harris-UNH 6’0 200 (Medal of Honor Bowl )
    TE Jean Sifrin- UMass (watch for him at the Combine! )
    WR De Andre Carter- Sacramento St.

  13. Ryan says:

    Love the article! Sorry to prove you wrong but I did already know about Mayle and he is one of my favorites as well. His gaudy numbers this year can’t be ignored and his potential is as enormous as his frame. I have to disagree with you on where he would right now, however. I think he is situated to go at the end of the third or top of the fourth now, which I think is about a round back of where his potential should put him. The combine will catapult him, for sure, and I can’t wait to see how he does in the NFL.

    All that said, I hope that the Pats don’t draft him unless he is there at the end of the fourth. He is inexperienced and his issues with drops and route running will prevent him from seeing the field for a long time in New England. He will be treated as a high-end project but a project nonetheless, so he does not seem to be the receiver the Pats might look for in the draft. Tom Brady’s clock is ticking, and any receiver we draft needs to make an immediate impact. Vince Mayle probably won’t be given the chance to do that here, so I can’t see him going to the Pats in an early round.

  14. Markus says:

    I’m glad that you did an analysis of Mayle because I read a short article about him and was really intrigued. So I added him to my list of WRs for the Patriots. I think it essentially comes down to what kind of WR they would be looking for. On the one hand I like Mayle and Dezmin Lewis as mid-to-late round outside WRs which would be in competition with Dobson and Tyms. On the other hand they could draft (more of) a slot receiver to groom behind and eventually replace Amendola and that’s where I like Justin Hardy, Tyler Lockett, and Stefon Diggs. Though, those would probably be in the 3rd/4th round range.

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