2022 NFL draft scouting report: Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe

Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe

261 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

5.93 — possible second-rounder; starter potential

TL;DR scouting report

High-energy, twitchy rusher with more flash plays and athletic upside than consistency, and he'll need to be a more effective run defender

The skinny

A 2-star Rivals recruit in the Class of 2017, Mafe picked the Gophers over Rutgers and a few FCS programs. After redshirting in 2017, he made 12 tackles, half a sack and one pass defended in 10 games as a redshirt freshman in 2018. Mafe played in 13 games in 2019, making 14 tackles (3.5 for losses) and three sacks.

Mafe earned a starting role in 2020, with 27 tackles (5.5 for losses), 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two passes defended in six games. As a redshirt senior in 2021, he made 34 tackles (10 for losses), seven sacks and one forced fumble in 12 games. He played at the Senior Bowl, running National Team Player of the Game with a two-sack effort.

Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe is a terrific athlete whose consistency could be better. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Minnesota EDGE Boye Mafe is a terrific athlete whose consistency could be better. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


  • Terrific athletic profile on display at NFL combine — fast, strong and explosive

  • Worked hard to develop in Gophers' weight-room program

  • Athletic enough to play on his feet and work laterally

  • Great get-off — explodes out of his stance on the snap

  • Packs a real wallop on contact — terrific power and pop

  • Torques his hips and delivers shock with his hands

  • Will chop down blockers' hands without stalling momentum

  • Uses tackles' momentum against them — tossed a few to the ground

  • Runs his feet on contact and keeps churning through echo of the whistle

  • Strong finishing ability — smells blood in the backfield

  • Makes hustle plays from the backside

  • High-energy player who can light a fire under a defense

  • Capable of making a few splash plays per outing

  • Reliable tackler who squares up ball carriers in his sights

  • Moldable piece of clay who could develop with the right tutelage

  • Finished strong during Senior Bowl week


  • Sub-par length — shade under 6-4, arms (32 5/8 inches) below preferred threshold

  • Longer-armed tackles had no trouble winning once they get to his chest

  • Run-game responsibilities were inconsistent — low tackle totals

  • Pinches down too hard and will lose contain (see Ohio State game)

  • Bit by read-option plays — can be caught in no man's land

  • Streaky pass rusher — sacks tend to come in bunches with noticeable droughts

  • Rushes too wide of the arc and loses sight of the ball

  • Coverage duties likely limited to dropping in short zones

  • More potential and athletic upside than finished product at this point

  • Developmental work still required — might not be suited for full-time duty as rookie

  • Older prospect — will turn 24 years old in November

Best-suited destination

Mafe is an interesting study, with the requisite athleticism to shine and enough big plays on tape to watch eagerly. But there are holes in his game, and he's on the older side for a rookie, so the team that drafts him needs a development plan that likely spans multiple seasons. As a rookie, Mafe fits best as an even-front pass-rush specialist but he doesn't look completely out of his place playing on his feet and could project to some 3-4 fronts as an OLB.

Did you know

Mafe’s father, Wale, immigrated to the United States from Yorubaland (an area in southwest Nigeria) in the late 1970s, and his mother, Bola, arrived a few years later, settling in Minnesota. Before Boye ever played a game for the Gophers, Bola died from pancreatic cancer — on Mother's Day 2018.

Player comp

A twitchier, more athletic and explosive Markus Golden

Expected draft range

Top-40 pick