Heaps: How the Seahawks should use Boye Mafe in his rookie season

May 13, 2022, 9:30 AM
Seahawks Boye Mafe...
Minnesota DE Boye Mafe sacks West Virginia QB Jarret Doege in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Dec. 28, 2021. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Seahawks addressed the trenches in a big way in the 2022 NFL Draft, adding two potential long-term starting offensive tackles as well as two edge rushers to get after opposing quarterbacks.

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One of those pass rushers is Boye Mafe, who Seattle drafted 40th overall out of Minnesota.

The 23-year-old ex-Golden Gopher was one of the biggest risers between the end of the college season and the start of the draft, delivering a dominant week at the Senior Bowl and putting together some great numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine, including a 4.53-second 40-yard dash and 41.5-inch vertical leap at nearly 6 foot 4 and 260 pounds.

Mafe was brought in as a high draft pick to be an impact player, but what should his role be in his first NFL season? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps tackled that question during Thursday’s Jake and Stacy on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“The role I want to see him have is to be a high-level pass rusher in this rotation for the Seahawks,” Heaps said. “The truth of the matter is that Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu are going to be your two starters on the edge.”

Nwosu came to Seattle this offseason from the Los Angeles Chargers after a five-sack season while Taylor posted 6.5 sacks in 16 games in 2021. That was Taylor’s first NFL season as he missed his rookie campaign in 2020 with a shin injury.

“You paid Nwosu $10 million per year over the next two years. Darrell Taylor obviously has grown and flashed as a potential star in this league and you’re going to give him every opportunity to continue that role,” Heaps said.

Heaps believes Mafe will be tasked with a fairly large transition from college to the NFL starting this season.

“Boye Mafe, the big thing that you heard coming out of rookie minicamp on top of what was already said when they drafted him is, ‘Hey, he’s gonna have to transition a little bit into a different role, into a different style, and we want him to not be a pure outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. We want him to be an edge rusher so we need to polish him up. We need to help him transition into that role,'” Heaps said. “And I think for Mafe, he is explosive, he is dynamic, he is athletic, but that is going to take some time for him to really grow as an NFL pass rusher.”

Because of that, Heaps thinks the best thing for the Seahawks to do with Mafe in 2022 is put him in “good situational football” opportunities where he can rush the passer.

“He can do what he does best and allow him to have a role, perfect that role before you expand it, and that’s why I think as a rotational pass rusher this year, that should be the expectation for Boye Mafe,” he said. “Don’t expect him to be a starter for this team this year. That’s OK. It’s all about rotational depth, and I think Mafe can fit that bill very, very well. But it’s going to be a big question as to how well he can transition into a consistent NFL pass rusher.”

Listen to the full second hour of Thursday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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