At the 2017 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Damien Mama will work to improve his draft stock by displaying his thick frame and power.
Damien Mama started 30 games for USC football during his three year career, but the left guard still has plenty to prove as he looks to move to the pro level.
Mama declared early for the NFL draft, ending his Trojan career with an All-Pac-12 second team selection and honorable mention to his name.
Though he didn’t land the accolades USC might have hoped when he arrived, his pro potential could have him climbing up draft boards if he shows well enough at the 2017 NFL Combine.
Scouting Report and Draft Stock
Mama was considered a potential top NFL prospect when he came out of high school, so his current status as a Day 3 draft pick is a slight surprise.
However, the same attributes which drew so much praise for him as a recruit could raise his draft stock greatly.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports pointed to his “powerful base” and “core strength” as positives, along with his attitude by staying “busy on-the-field with constant hustle, always searching for someone to block with a nasty demeanor.”
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein called Mama a “power-based guard who can generate movement off the ball, but lacks the balance and bend to be a consistent block sustainer.” He mused that the guard may be more of a project, as an early back up who could develop into a starter.
Both Brugler and Zierlein noted Mama’s weight concerns, with the former mentioning the need for monitoring while the latter praised the lineman for greater “lateral quickness to reach and sustain in space” with pounds shed.
The two also made a more negative point of Mama’s inability to lock down a starting job despite his 30 career starts. Offseason competition with Chris Brown raised some red flags about Mama’s work ethic.
What Can He Improve at the Combine?
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Mama’s thick body type should make a good impression on teams looking for guards, but his weight and fitness in Indianapolis will be something to keep an eye on. There’s a lot to like about his size, unless ballooning weight becomes an issue.
No doubt, teams will ask questions about that during the interview portion of the Combine as well.
Zierlein described Mama’s punch out of his stance as “stiff as a boxing jab.” That kind of power and explosion could turn heads during positional drills against the defensive linemen and it’s a strength that Mama should certainly look to get the most out of.
However, he’ll also need to display an improved ability to finish in one-on-one situations.
Given his strength, Mama could also make waves in the bench press.