The Patriots drafted their third interior offensive lineman on Saturday when they selected UCLA fifth-year senior Atonio Mafi in the fifth round. The 6-foot-3, 329-pounder is regarded as a mauler in the run game. He transitioned from defensive tackle to O-line in 2020, then started 16 games split between left guard and right guard over the past two years.
The Patriots are familiar with Mafi after coaching him at East-West Shrine Bowl, where he was voted a team captain at the end of the week. He later took a top-30 visit to Foxboro, becoming the sixth of seven draft picks so far to visit the team’s facility during the pre-draft process. Mafi projects as a potential down-the-road starter in New England, assuming he can beat out what’s suddenly a crowded field on the interior.
He hails from Serra High School, Tom Brady’s alma mater, in San Mateo, Calif. In college, Mafi played under Chip Kelly, a long-time Bill Belichick confidant. He’s also cousins with ex-Patriots tight end Devin Asiasi, who told him shortly after he was drafted to keep an open mind in New England.
Here is Mafi’s scouting report from NFL.com: “With a wide frame that can be challenging to navigate for run defenders, Mafi plays with good core strength, a broad base and well-placed hands to improve his power zone. Move blocking in the ground game and reactive adjustments in pass protection will create difficulties for him due to a lack of foot quickness. He plays with a chippy temperament that coaches will like. Mafi is scheme-dependent, but he has the potential to be a good backup or low-end starter.”
The Patriots’ draft class so far:
Round 1, pick No. 17: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez
Round 2, pick No. 46: Georgia Tech DL Keion White
Round 3, pick No. 76: Sacramento State LB Marte Mapu
Round 4, No. 107: Troy center Jake Andrews
Round 4, No. 112: Maryland kicker Chad Ryland
Round 4, No. 117: Eastern Michigan offensive lineman Sidy Sow
Round 5, No. 144: UCLA offensive lineman Atonio Mafi