Tight end Vince Mayle has yet to catch a pass in his four-year NFL career. However, he does have a rushing touchdown to his name, which is odd for a former collegiate wide receiver who was a semi-finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top wideout.
But things haven’t always been “normal” for Mayle. His path to football wasn’t normal. His path to the NFL wasn’t normal, either. In fact, Football wasn’t even in the plans for Mayle when he was growing up in the suburbs of Sacramento, California.
Growing up a huge Lebron James fan, Mayle was all about the hardwood. Basketball was the plan all the way up through high-school and into college, when he committed to play at Shasta College, a community college in Redding, California. At 6-foot-2, Mayle wasn’t the normal power forward. He would go on to average eight points per game in his lone season.
In the summer of 2010, his mother suffered an accident that forced him to take time away from school and take care of her. It was during this hiatus from sports that Mayle realized he would have a better chance of making something out of himself with the game of football. In that year off, he transformed his body, gaining between 20 and 30 pounds. In the fall of 2011, Mayle returned to school, enrolling at Sierra College in Rocklin, California.
At 240 pounds, Mayle was almost a defensive end, linebacker, and tight end. Thankfully, he landed at wide receiver where he totaled 61 catches for 984 yards that season, good enough to make him a First-Team JUCO All-American.
Mayle chose to attend Washington State University after head coach Mike Leach and outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons were the only coaches to visit him in person.
The massive wideout played two seasons for the Cougars, but not before dropping down to 225 pounds in order to refine his body and fundamentals. In his first year, Mayle struggled out of the gate but finished with 41 catches for 549 yards and seven touchdowns. At the end of the year, Mayle was granted a waiver by the NCAA that allowed him to play one more season for WSU.
It was this final year that it all came together. Mayle would finish his final year of eligibility with 1,482 yards on 106 catches with nine touchdowns. He was one of two players in the nation with two games of 250+ receiving yards, but became the only player in PAC-12 history to achieve the feat. However, crazy enough, he also led the nation with 19 dropped passes.
Regardless, Mayle was a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award after setting the WSU single-season receiving record and being named a second-team all-conference performer When the NFL Draft rolled around, Mayle was selected in the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns with the 123rd-overall pick.
College: Washington State
Years with team: 1
“Vince Mayle signed a 1 year, $645,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $645,000. In 2019, Mayle will earn a base salary of $645,000, while carrying a cap hit of $645,000.” - Spotrac.com
Mayle was UBER productive during his time at Washington State. A strong, well-built, natural-gifted receiver, he was able to dominate Pac-12 defenses without breakaway speed (4.73 40).
If you throw on the tape from his historic 2014 season, you’ll see a receiver do a lot of the things that Mike Williams did against the Chiefs during their game at Arrowhead.
- Muscling his way for first downs.
- Using his frame to box-out defenders
- Holding onto the rock to make clutch catches even though he’s getting SMACKED
These are all things that help set great receivers apart from the rest. Heading into the NFL, however, Mayle put weight back on his frame, going from 220 to around 240, to help transition himself into a tight end. His skill-set and natural ball-skills seem like a perfect fit for the Chargers offense, especially with a quarterback like Rivers who loves to utilize his sizable receivers down the field.
Mayle still has yet to record a single catch as an NFL player and that’s nuts for a guy who caught so many at the collegiate level. At this point, i’m not sure if it has to do with picking up the playbook, athletic-ability, or just a lack of effort. He was, as stated earlier, known for relying on his athleticism than using his head and working on the little things.
I think Mayle would be an interesting player as a move-TE but his lack of blocking ability keeps him from being a well-rounded contributor to teams.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2019
I doubt he finds himself on the final 53 after the team likely keeps three tight ends (Henry, Green, Culkin). I still would like to keep him on the practice squad in case injuries start to pile up.
Fun Fact: During a practice, Mayle was benched for a game in community college due to an alarming amount of drops in a recent practice. The very next game, he caught four touchdowns.