NFL draft: Vince Mayle goes to Browns

IT WAS THREE years ago that Vince Mayle sat on a couch back home in Sacramento. Mayle was a former basketball player looking for a new home to begin his college football career. Soon enough, he landed at Sierra Junior College, signed with WSU and became one of the top receivers in the Pac-12 in 2014. And on Saturday, he was taken in the fourth by the Cleveland Browns in the 2015 NFL draft

He becomes the second Cougar taken by the Browns in as many days. On Friday, defensive lineman Xavier Cooper was drafted in the third round by the Browns.

In March of 2014, right before the start of spring practices Mayle was getting ready for his final campaign at WSU. Originally only having one year of eligibility, he was given a second year by the NCAA, which he called a blessing. It gave him a chance to showcase his skills for one final campaign to the NFL scouts.

“I never thought I’d be in this position,” Mayle told CF.C on that warm March day last spring. “I was a basketball player all my life and I never got recruited for football. Had you told me I’d have a shot to play in the NFL two years ago or even a year ago, I wouldn’t believe you.” Mayle can certainly believe it now.

On Saturday, in the fourth of the NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns selected the 6-2, 224-pounder as the 123rd overall pick. Mayle became the second Cougar taken in this year’s draft by the Browns, joining Xavier Cooper, who was selected late last night in the third round. Signal caller and Spokane native Connor Halliday is still patiently waiting for his name to be called.

The newest Coug in the NFL, who was a Biletnikoff Top 10 Finalist this season, had a monster year for Washington State in 2014. In WSU’s 39-32 victory over Oregon State on Saturday, Nov. 8, Mayle hauled in six receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown. In that game, Mayle became the program’s single-season receptions leader, breaking the previous record of 82. Mayle finished the year with 106 receptions.

Mayle also broke the WSU record for receiving yards in a game in the Cougs’ 60-59 loss to Cal on Oct. 4. In that contest, Mayle recorded 263 yards and a touchdown. He also had 14 receptions, which is tied with sophomore receiver River Cracraft for the single-game record. For his career, Mayle finished with 148 receptions, 2,022 yards and 16 touchdowns.

In a recent interview with CF.C, CBSSports’ Rob Rang, a veteran NFL Draft Analyst, said Mayle’s size alone made him stand out to teams.

“Mayle and any receiver who’s a top target in a pass-happy offense, you essentially have to watch as many catches as you can and throw out the statistics,” Rang said. “Nobody’s going to draft Mayle based on the fact that he was among college football’s leaders in catches. They’re going to draft him based on the fact that at his size (6-foot-3, 224-pounds), he has pretty impressive lateral agility and burst and that he is still a relatively raw prospect whose best football is still ahead of him.”

Offensive lineman Jake Rodgers, a former WSU starter who transferred to Eastern Washington and became an All-American there, was drafted in the seventh round by Atlanta.

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