Is surprisingly shifty off the line for his size, isn’t real physical and isn’t going to simply outpace defenders vertically. But knows how to set up corners vs. press, gain a step and separate from man coverage. Also has a great feel in zone coverage, knows where to sit down underneath, snaps off routes quickly when he is the “hot” man and seems to always finds a way to uncover vs. space.
Impression: Isn’t a dynamic athlete, lacks ideal physicality, burst or speed. However, the guy is just a gamer who knows how to create enough separation for himself and will go up and cleanly pluck the football. Is one of those guys who finds a way to play better than his measureables would indicate and I think he has a real shot to fill out an NFL receiving corps."
Maehl has the skills to produce at the next level.
Maehl is a fiery competitor and an offensive leader, stepping up in the moments when his team needs him the most, and performing in the clutch when asked. These traits were perfectly on display in Oregon’s loss to Auburn in the 2011 BCS title game, where he was a focal point of the offense, and caught the game-tying two-point conversion near the end of the game.
Maehl doesn’t possess elite speed, but he’s not far off. Regardless, he has great speed with the pads on, and is a threat to break a big play anytime the ball is in his hands. In addition to his solid speed, Maehl is a natural, fluid athlete, and can work the seams for any pass, while possessing excellent route-running ability and the understanding of angles and defensive coverage.
While shifty and athletic, Maehl also provides his team with reliable hands and a knack for the tough catch, while never showing fear in going over the middle, or going up for a ball. Maehl won’t leave his quarterback hanging, and rarely drops even the toughest of passes. Maehl excels on screen passes and intermediate routes, while also displaying an ability to reel in deep passes and fight for passes in the air. Maehl is also a stellar blocker at the college level.
Maehl shows flashes of big-play speed and ability, but when timed, it just hasn’t matched up. He benefited from playing in a weak Pac-10 conference, but still came up big against a tough SEC team in Auburn on college’s biggest stage. Regardless, as a skill player at the next level, he’ll have to prove he can separate against NFL corners, while possessing enough speed to make the same plays in the pro’s as he did in college.
With speed in question, Maehl will also have to face size and durability concerns, as he doesn’t have a huge frame and at first glance is a tad wiry. His frame actually suits the slot position at the next level, but he’ll still need to bulk up to handle the rigors of the beating slot receivers experience at the next level. Not going up against elite competition on a consistent basis in his career may also hinder his draft stock, although his impressive BCS title game showing should curb some of those concerns.
Maehl has inconsistent 40 times when timed, so how he performs at the 2011 NFL Combine will largely impact his draft stock. He has the field speed and hands of an NFL slot receiver, with the ability to make big plays. He definitely has a place at the next level, but still doesn’t quiet match up with many of the more explosive receivers ahead of him. Look for Maehl to be plucked by a team looking for a well-rounded receiver somewhere in the third or fourth round.
NFL Player Comparison: Jordan Shipley"
Positive: Tough, productive receiver with marginal size/speed numbers. Fluid releasing off the line, finds the open spot in the seam and displays quickness running after the catch. Comes back to the ball out of breaks, extends his hands and a reliable receiver who catches the ball away from his frame. Lays out for the difficult grab, goes up in a crowd, and makes a lot of athletic receptions down the field. Nicely adjusts to the errant throw and keeps the play inbounds after the catch. Gives effort blocking downfield. Possesses strong and soft hands with the ability to pluck the ball from the air.
Negative: Shows a marginal burst and is a one-speed receiver who cannot stretch the field vertically. Loses out in battles.
Analysis: Maehl is a marginally athletic receiver who gets the most from his ability. He's not as big or fast as many of the receivers in this draft, but he plays smart football and gets every ounce from his skills. He'll be a definite candidate to be a fifth receiver on the NFL level."
Negatives: Thin frame, will get crushed by linebackers in the NFL... Not very fast, has trouble running vertical routes... Below average burst off the line of scrimmage... Doesn't have a second gear and isn't an elite athlete... Limited potential because of his lack of raw physical talent... Has not contributed as a returner."
Weaknesses: Marginal athlteic ability. Thin frame, as he'll have trouble getting off the line in press coverage at the next level. Not going to create separation in his routes. Doesn't come back to the football regularly. Lapses of concentration that leads to dropped passes.
Jeff Maehl has virtually no redeeming athletic qualities.
He just makes plays.
That's it. That's his story.
Maybe a little bit of Fluidity and Lateral Agility.
That is his resume.
Jeff Maehl doesn't have an OUNCE of physical talent, but he studies game film, he works like a DOG to master the Game, he processes information in Real Time faster than 99% of the guys out there...and he makes things happen.
He is a Scrapper. And he will Move The Chains.
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