Vince Mayle was at the crossroads with his college career in 2011. Should he continue to play basketball at Sierra College or join the football program? He had averaged 8.0 points per game in hoops, winning a dunk contest as a freshman, but the former prep running back/linebacker would turn to football and become a 240-pound split end. He led Sierra with 61 receptions for 984 yards (16.13 ypc) and led the California junior college ranks with 16 touchdown grabs, as he also averaged 24.62 yards on 13 kickoff returns in 2012.
Mayle accepted a scholarship to join Mike Leach’s pass-happy program at Washington State, but spent the 2013 season in reserve. He still managed to gain 539 yards with seven scores on 42 catches that year. The staff was thinking of moving him to H-Back or full-back, but Mayle dropped 20 pounds during the offseason and won the starting “X” receiver job for 2014. He would lead the Pac-12 Conference and rank fourth in the nation with 106 receptions, again leading the league while placing fifth nationally with 1,483 yards receiving. He also gained 177 yards on nine kickoff returns and recorded four tackles.
While some media types credited Mayle’s performance to being a product of the system, it also helped that he had a quarterback in Connor Halliday that was averaging 430.3 aerial yards per game before the passer broke his leg and missed the final three games on the 2014 calendar. Mayle had averaged 12.61 yards via 80 catches with Halliday at the helm. When the QB was injured, Mayle “amped it up,” averaging 18.23 yards on 26 receptions in those last three games, including 252 yards on a career-best 15 receptions vs. Arizona State.
Mayle has a solid upper body frame and good lower body muscle tone. He has the long arms, large hands and big thighs to look the part of a go-to receiver. Even with his impressive timed speed, he may lack the suddenness to leave defenders at the line of scrimmage getting into his route, and he still needs to refine his hand technique trying to escape the jam (will sometimes get too caught up in the battle rather than play off the defender). But, once he keeps his hands inside his frame, he is too physical for most cornerbacks to contain.
The Cougar moves athletically through under coverage and has a smooth, fluid release, steadily building to top speed. He relies mostly on his size, bulk and strength to beat the jam, as he knows he can use his body assets to steer defenders and create lanes with his ability to stem and angle.
Because of his long legs, Mayle does not look like he has blazing speed, but if you ask any Pac-12 Conference cornerback, he has the ability to instantly get to the top of the route and eat up any cushion. He might not be sudden, but he is an athletic mover off the line and even with just two years of major college experience (three overall), it is rare to see him take false steps in his route or ease off when blocking in the second level. He builds his acceleration nicely heading up the field and is very crisp coming out of his breaks.
What separates Mayle from most big receivers is his ability to adjust and run under the ball in flight. He is too tall to make the shoestring grabs, though, making him not ideal for the underneath game. He loves when allowed to simply run down field, have the quarter-back unleash the ball and time his leaps to get to it at its highest point.
Mayle is a natural athlete with the range, jumping ability and body control to contort and adjust to the off-target passes. He just needs to work on his knee bend to be more successful attacking the low balls. He has the size, timing and body control to win most jump ball battles. He has the hip snap and strength to power through a defender and reach outside his frame to pluck the ball. His timing is important to his success and it is rare to see him leave his feet too early.
Mayle is like a locomotive once he gets the ball in his hands. On 37-of-97 non-touchdown receptions in 2014, it took more than one defender to bring him down. He might not be sudden in his moves, but is too hard to tackle in one-on-one situations due to his great leg power. He simply has that incredible ability to break tackles and run through arms on nearly every play. He has enough playing speed to finish when out in front and can make things happen once he gets into the open field.
Mayle can obliterate smaller defensive backs that get in his way when blocking in the second level. He shows good knee bends and hand usage blocking in the backfield, doing a nice job of mirroring the edge rushers and sustaining. Once he gains position, he will generally win the battle. He has good hand placement to generate a strong punch to shock and jolt and has no problem taking angles to stalk and cut block linebackers.
Vince Mayle Scouting Combine measurables
6-2/224 (4.67 forty)
31 3/4-inch arm length
35.5-inch vertical jump
117-inch broad jump
6.93 3 cone drill
4.13 20 yard shuttle/P>
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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