Seahawks Edge Boye Mafe: 'Let it Run, Let it Ride, and Play Fast' – Sports Illustrated

Even before Boye Mafe stepped foot onto a practice field, he was already earning high praise.
Mafe got off to a relatively slow start during non-padded, OTA-style practices. However, once the pads came out, he began to shine with his elite physical and athletic traits working off the edge.
It’s been a few years since the Seattle Seahawks had a consistent, dominant pass rusher off the edge. Is Mafe up for the task?
"He's really talented. He's the closest looking fit to Cliff Avril that we've seen," Pete Carroll said. "The explosion, the flexibility, the bend that he has. Cliff had a great career for us in the league, and if he can get anywhere near that, it would be a great plus for us. It looks like he's got the chance to be that kind of player, but we'll see how that goes."
The Seahawks drafted Mafe at 40th overall this offseason after he posted seven sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 12 games last season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. With 42 career games played under his belt, Mafe finished his career 9th all-time in school history with 15 sacks. 
So how is the rookie edge rusher transitioning from the college level to the NFL?
“I can see a big difference, honestly. In college, there are a lot of different set points. The college set depth is probably about five or six yards. In the NFL, it’s seven, eight, or nine yards depending on the quarterback they have and depending on the type of plays. The play-action pass is a lot different and reading that run-to-pass tendency is a lot different in the NFL. I mean, I can tell that there are a lot more details to the pass rush game in the NFL.”
Early on in camp, Mafe has made his presence known. He blew up consecutive misdirection plays in the backfield and he did not bite on fakes. 
Seattle's new 3-4 defensive system allows outside linebackers to be heavily involved in the pass rush, which will give Mafe plenty of chances to make impact plays. The coaching staff will have a specialized role for him but all indications are that he's expected to get after the quarterback.
Last season, the Seahawks ranked a disgraceful 30th in sack percentage, 27th in quarterback pressure rate, and 22nd in total sacks, falling into the bottom third of the league in all three categories. Seattle's defense didn’t have an individual player reach double digits in sacks last season yet finished with 34 sacks as a team.
“For me, I feel like it’s definitely a work in progress," Mafe said. "There is never perfect, you never know all the answers right away, so I’m just taking it in one day at a time. I trust in my coaches, everything that they teach me, everything they are showing me, and I’m finding a way to go through that.”
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