2018 Scouting report: Hercules Mata’afa

nfl draft

Hercules Mata’afa

Washington State Edge/Pass Rusher #50

Junior, 6’2” 252

Strengths:

  • Excellent first step
  • Good lateral quickness
  • Maintains good body control

Weaknesses:

  • Gets caught up in blocks to often
  • Stiff hipped
  • Lack of pass rush moves
  • Inconsistent

 

A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Hercules Mata’afa was the seventh best prospect coming out of the state of Hawaii. He received four scholarships, Washington State being his biggest. Mata’afa was a three-year player for the Cougars, racking up 45.5 tackles for a loss and 21.0 sacks in his career. His best year came this past year as a junior, where he had 22.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. During his career he played both defensive end and defensive tackle. He moved in and out of the two positions his last two years which allowed him to make more plays for the defense.

Mata’afa is very inconsistent at times. Some plays he will disrupt the play and make the huge stop while looking unstoppable, then the next few plays it looks like he’s not even on the field. He lacks pass rushing moves, which are used to get off blockers fast to get into the backfield effectively. Because these moves are lacking you see him get tangled up in blocks far too often.

Because of how disruptive he has been over his career you see him get double teamed a lot. This causes it harder to make plays, as imagined. He is still able to use his strength to power through those blocks in the inside and create havoc in the backfield.

As stated before, during his career at Washington State he played a lot of DT and DE. This makes it harder to predict where he will be able to play at the next level. He was able to use his speed and quick first step to blow past the IOL but will have a lot harder of a time doing the same thing on the outside versus a more athletic tackle with more technique. You see him get caught on blocks many times on the inside on tape and that will happen a lot more at the next level. Overall, I see Mata’afa as a developmental player with the upside of being a good backup in the league and eventually a rotational player, if developed correctly.

 

Rating Hercules Mata’afa

(all out of 10)

Pass rush: 6.3

Use of hands: 4.3

Bend: 3.9

Run stop: 8.5

Tackling: 8.4

Block shredding: 4

Play strength/speed: 6.2

Body control: 7.2

Pursuit: 6.5

1st step: 9

Overall: 64.1

Projected round: 3-5

Videos watched: vs USC (17), vs Oregon (17), vs Cal (17), vs Stanford (17)

 




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