Former Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa will be drafted into the NFL this month, but he may not go as early as his production would indicate.
In an article for CBS Sports, Mata’afa provided some insight on how he has gotten here, and what’s next in his career. While he led the Pac-12 in tackles for loss and sacks in 2017, NFL scouts have some questions about his ability to play at the next level. But that doesn’t appear to be a major concern of his.
“They didn’t really look at me coming out of high school. They’re not really looking at me now. I’ve been doubted my whole life,” Mata’afa wrote. “I’m going to go out there and show them that I can play. I don’t care where I get drafted, I’m just going in there to prove I can make the team and show what I can bring to that team.”
One concern about Mata’afa is over the position he will play professionally. He played on the interior of the defensive line for the Cougs, but because he’s undersized, NFL teams seem him playing on the edge, While Hercules is experienced rushing the quarterback, the pro game will require an adjustment.
Since the NFL Scouting Combine, Mata’afa has returned to Maui to train. Instead of working on getting bigger or stronger, the former Coug has focused his time on boxing to refine with his technique.
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