Get to know your UTSA seniors headed into the NFL draft

Rylan Renteria, Contributor

With the recent success of UTSA alumni CB Tariq Woolen and G Spencer Burford, NFL teams are starting to take closer looks at prospects coming out of the 210. 

For reference, I’ll be using Pro Football Focus (PFF) Grades in this article to give context to players’ performances. The grading works on a scale of 0-100, like regular school grading. With that being said, here are a few names you should get to know before the draft and my breakdowns of them as players. 

Dadrian Taylor (Defensive Back/Linebacker)

Taylor is undoubtedly the most versatile player on this Roadrunner defense. Listed at 5’11, 185 pounds, defensive coordinator Jess Loepp has him playing all over the field, and rightly so. In addition, Taylor possesses elite speed that allows him to be lined up anywhere. In 2022, Taylor missed some time with injury but still was able to total 36 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one interception returned for a touchdown. When evaluating players like Taylor, you have to focus more on the physical tools he has, such as his speed. Taylor likes to play fast, so he’s prone to play action and struggles at times tackling bigger running backs, but with the right coach and some added weight, he will be fine. If Taylor tests out well, I have him going as high as the 5th round. 

Ahofitu Maka (Center/Guard) 

Ahofitu Maka comes in at a stout 6’3, 325 pounds and plays like it. A mainstay on the UTSA o-line, Maka has only improved since he first got to UTSA in 2019. In 2022, Maka allowed zero sacks, 17 pressures and committed only four penalties on 873 snaps, earning him a 62.5 grade on the season from PFF. Maka excels as a pass blocker but often struggles in the run game. He was invited to the 2023 NFLPA bowl to showcase his talents for NFL scouts. In the game, Maka allowed zero sacks, zero QB hits and zero pressures, earning him an 81.3 pass-blocking grade. While he struggles with hand placement and one-on-one blocking, with a strong combine performance, I predict Ahofitu Maka could go as early as a late fourth-round pick. 

Corey Mayfield Jr (Corner) 

At just 5’11, 190 pounds, Corey Mayfield Jr. plays a lot larger than he looks. In 2022, Mayfield recorded 44 tackles, two sacks and had five games with an 80+ PFF tackling grade. In coverage, he’s just as excellent, only allowing a 52.6 completion percentage when targeted and he had zero games where he gave up 100 receiving yards. In 2021, Mayfield had his best season earning an 80.5 grade and recording his single-highest game grade ever versus Rice, where he scored a 95. Mayfield, like Maka, received an invite to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, where he was targeted 0 times throughout his time in the game. Although he’s a great tackler and consistent cover corner, NFL scouts will underestimate him due to his size. I have him going in the late 5th round or early 6th.