K.J. Wright: Why, how Seahawks should play Boye Mafe more
The edges have been an issue for the Seahawks defensively to open the season, primarily in the run game.
On Monday, head coach Pete Carroll noted a few players need to be getting more snaps, including rookie linebacker Boye Mafe, one of two second-round picks the Seahawks made in April’s draft.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound defender has seen his snap share increase slightly each week this season, going from 29% of Seattle’s defensive snaps in Week 1 to 30% in Week 2 and 33% last weekend. Overall, Mafe has six tackles and a sack to his name in 2022.
Carroll has said the rookie outside linebacker should play more, but what does former Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright think of Mafe? He shared his thoughts during Wednesday’s K.J. Wright Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM.
Simply put, Wright agrees with his former head coach.
“I like Mafe. I watched him and he’s showing up on tape,” Wright said. “The man is strong.”
Wright recalled a play against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2 where Mafe took on a pulling blocker, threw him aside and then made a play in the backfield.
“Put the man on the field. You drafted him high for a reason,” Wright said. “I’m not sure about his pass rush. I need to see a little more from his pass rush. But from making a impact on the field, defeating blocks, making plays in the backfield, put that man on the football field.”
Coming out of college, Mafe was often compared to former Seahawks pass rusher Cliff Avril, Brock Huard said. He wanted to know from Wright’s perspective whether Mafe was more similar to Avril or former Hawks linebacker/pass rusher Bruce Irvin.
“No, not Cliff Avril. He’s more Bruce Irvin. He’s a Bruce Irvin-type. Bruce was somebody that could just dominate tight ends. Speed-wise he doesn’t have Bruce’s speed,” Wright said. “… I like him. Get the man some reps. Let me see on the third-down package. Right now it’s Uchenna (Nwosu) and a lot of DT. Let me see some more of Mafe coming off the edge on third downs. He’s definitely stepping up and hey, put him on the field.”
Huard thinks Mafe could be a strongside linebacker lining up against opposing tight ends at the line of scrimmage. Does Wright agree?
“Absolutely. And if you want to do something, if I’m the defensive coordinator, on first and second down, Uchenna and Mafe (at outside linebacker),” Wright said. “Darrell Taylor, you’re my third down guy. You have a skill set, Darrell Taylor. You can really get up to the passer, you have a high motor, you have speed. You’re going to be my guy on my third down package that’s running stuff. So let me put these two guys out here. Let’s stop the run. Let’s put my big boys out here up front, be physical, take up blocks, get penetration. If you wanna make a change, that’s a beautiful change.”
Listen to this week’s K.J. Wright Show at this link or in the player below.