With the NFL Draft right around the corner, the BYU Cougars have a few prospects that could find their name called on the pro game's big weekend. One of the most promising names that could be called is tight end Devin Mahina.
Due to a number of circumstances, including an offensive scheme that underutilized the tight end position, Mahina was never given the chance to stand out like past tight ends from BYU. In the chances he did receive, he made quite an impression as he was invited to the 2015 NFLPA All-Star Bowl and the 2015 Senior Bowl.
Before coming to BYU, the highly sought after Mahina was recruited by UCLA, Oregon, Colorado, USC, Washington State, Washington, Utah, and Arizona State. As a freshman at BYU, he played in 12 of the 13 games, only missing the season opener against Washington, and compiled 118 yards on 11 receptions as he earned letterman honors.
The 2011 season didn't turn out at all as he had hoped due to a neck injury that required Mahina to redshirt and delay his sophomore year. After returning in 2012 he played in nine games and added two touchdowns to his 128 yards receiving. In 2013 he played in ten games as the tight end role continued to be diminished in the new offense for the Cougars.
In 2014, he had his best year of his career as a more pass focused offense looked for more help from the tight end. Mahina played in all 13 games and caught at least one pass in 11 of them. His highlight game came against Central Florida as he pulled down four catches, 46 yards, and two touchdowns. Mahina finished the year with 20 receptions, 244 yards, and three touchdowns.
Mahina put up solid numbers for a TE at his Pro Day (via nfldraftscout.com):
- 40-yard dash - 4.82 seconds
- 225 lb bench - 23 reps
- Vertical jump - 29.5 inches
- Broad jump - 117 inches
- 20-yard shuttle - 4.45 seconds
- 3-cone drill - 7.12
Mahina shows promise in the NFL as a tight end that has the ability both to block and catch the ball. He has a way of making the tough catches look easy (although he can also make an easy catch look tough at times). He has the size that would benefit him in the NFL and blocks well with his hands. Although he doesn't cause much separation in his routes he does have a tendency to make defenders miss, or run them over, after catching the ball. With a bit of experience he could fit into a system that would require him to earn his keep as a blocker or pass catcher.
Cougar fans may always remember him as a bruiser on the field, as demonstrated in the video below, and will continue to cheer for him wherever he ends up. Whichever team ends up signing the former Cougar, whether through the draft or free agency, will gain not only a talented tight end, but will find themselves with a great leader and person in their locker room.