Why Carroll comparing Mafe to Seahawks legend Avril is ‘a big deal’

Jun 14, 2022, 9:42 AM

Seahawks Boye Mafe...

Boye Mafe of the Minnesota Golden Gophers warms up during the 2020 Outback Bowl against the Auburn Tigers at Raymond James Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

To say that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has high hopes for their highest-selected defender in the 2022 NFL Draft is quite the understatement.

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“Really holding out hope that (Boye) Mafe’s gonna really have a chance to help us. He’s really talented,” Carroll told reporters last week. “He’s the closest looking fit to Cliff Avril that we’ve seen (with) the explosion and the flexibility, the bend that he has. Cliff had a great career for us and in the league. If he can get anywhere near that, it would be a great plus for us. It looks like he’s got the chance to be that kind of a player.”

Mafe, an edge rusher out of Minnesota, was the 40th overall pick in this year’s draft after a great 2021 season as well as excellent pre-draft process with standout performances at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine.

Avril, meanwhile, was a top pass rusher for the Seahawks in the mid-2010s who played a key role in Seattle winning the 2013 Super Bowl and helping the 2014 team win the NFC.

So what should we make of Carroll’s lofty comparison?

“I think this is a big deal,” former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps said during Friday’s Jake and Stacy on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“Comparing Boye Mafe to Cliff Avril, that is high praise. It is high, high praise coming from Pete Carroll,” Heaps added. “Cliff wasn’t somebody that in his career posted 15-sack seasons and things of that nature. He was around eight to 10 sacks generally in his career. But the impact that he had in every aspect of the game and his pressure rates and all that, it was phenomenal.”

Heaps said Avril excelled at “bending the pocket” and causing quarterbacks to have to make decisions faster than they’d like to in the pocket.

“If Boye Mafe – not comparing him to the immediate success of what Cliff Avril was here in Seattle – but if he can work towards that and he can become that type of player? Man, that would be such a positive development for the Seattle Seahawks,” Heaps said. “I still think Mafe has a long way to go in terms of his overall growth and development and honing in his raw skills, but if he could do it quicker than everyone’s expecting him to do it, man, that’d be great for this pass rush.”

The Russell Wilson trade

One other element to Mafe’s career that’s worth noting is that the pick the Seahawks used to draft Mafe was acquired from the Denver Broncos in exchange for quarterback Russell Wilson.

“We talked about Charles Cross being one of those picks. Does he become an All-Pro? Because that helps you decide whether the trade was a success,” Stacy Rost said. “… Another thing to remember (is) Boye Mafe was the second-round pick that you got from the Broncos. I think (Cross) took the spotlight and took all the attention, but if Boye Mafe ends up being a real star for you, that is a pick you got as a direct result of that trade of Russell Wilson.”

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

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