Here’s what Falcons offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield, who was taken in the third round (68th overall), had to say Saturday after his second rookie minicamp practice.
On rookie minicamp: “It’s been going really well. Just getting to know my teammates better. We are really emphasizing on the offense and as a team, just really getting acclimated. Knowing all of the guys and building relationships. It’s really exciting. It’s a fun time to get started.”
On position fluidity: “I’ve played every position here so far. Quarterback, receiver, I’ve played it all. (We think he was joking). I’m doing whatever I’m asked to do. I’m going to do whatever the team needs.”
On working at guard: “It’s definitely going to be a challenge. I’ve been challenged before (when) I had to move positions. I’m not really focused on that. I’m just focused on becoming a better player every day. Just focusing on being a good offensive lineman not specifying on what position. Just making sure that I’m ready wherever the team needs me, at tackle, at guard or center. Just being very fluid and doing whatever I’m needed to do.”
On if he’s taken reps at center: “No, I’m just staying up on top of things making sure that I was ready (if I was called.)”
On playing offensive line: “Yeah, you definitely have to have a mental toughness and a physical toughness about you especially when you are playing on the offensive line. All through football you are going to have to have mental toughness when times get tough, you have to hunker down and depend on one another to do certain things to get the job done. I think that carries through the whole team, coaches on down. If you have a mentally tough team and a physically tough team, you’re going to be really good whenever close games happen, or when big time moments come up. I’m just focused on doing my part, making sure that I’m mentally and physically tough enough. Making sure that I understand our playbook and I know my assignments. Making sure that I’m prepared at all costs.”
On his mental toughness: “It was never really talked about. Coach (Arthur) Smith is a fiery guy. He loves the game of football. He’s a very tough minded person. He wants you to be the best that you can be. So, you know, in that case I want to present the same thing that he presents up. Tough, just like him. Be passionate about what you are doing and what you work for and having a mindset in order to grow. Just making sure that I’m the best player I can be. Doing whatever the team needs, just like he does.”
On offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford: “Coach Ledford is a very fun guy to be around. He definitely knows when to be serious, but he also knows how to have fun. He wants us to stay engage with just playing football and have fun with the game. It is a job now, but you play this game because you love the game and you’re having fun with the game. He never wants us to forget that. I’m living a dream know, playing the game I love. I’m just having fun with it. Taking those coaching points that he gives me and trying to do my best to help this team.”
On falling to the third round: “I was just praying that I heard my name. I didn’t know where I was going or what time it was. I couldn’t really control that. I’m happy I’m here now and I’m able to do what I do best and that’s play football. I really didn’t care where (I went). I’m happy to be in Atlanta and I’m happy to get started, build relationships here for a very long time.”
MAYFIELD’S DRAFT BIO
Third round (68th overall) – Jalen Mayfield, G, Michigan
Height: 6-foot-5 Weight: 328 Arms: 32-5/8 Hands: 9-3/4 40-yard dash: 5.31 seconds
Overview: He was an an honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick after starting 13 games at right tackle in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season , but later changed his mind. He played in two games at right tackle before he suffered a high ankle sprain. He played just over 1,000 snaps in the Big Ten. He anchored an offensive line that paved the way for a running game that gained over 2,200 yards with 26 rushing touchdowns in the 2019 season. In 18 games, the Michigan-native only allowed two sacks. Mayfield is the fifth player the franchise has drafted from the University of Michigan and first since 1978. He joins T James Coode, T Mike Kenn, LB Cart Russ and RB Bill Taylor. The Falcons have picked an offensive lineman in back-to-back drafts in the third round, drafting Matt Hennessy last year with the 78th overall pick. Mayfield is experienced in all run schemes, but needs to improve his drive blocking by getting lower. “He has starting potential, but it might take some time,” according to NFL.com Lance Zierlein.