Route-Running - Simple route tree and was often left in for protection, further complicating the evaluation. Moments of crisp routes on tapes, but ran mostly underneath patterns and was rarely tasked with anything complicated. Ideal role may be as a vertical threat given his tools, but ball skills are largely an unknown.
Ball Skills - Cut down on drops significantly this past season, but they’ve been a problem over the course of his career. Doesn’t finish tough catches with consistency, but the 2-3 flashes are tantalizing. Jared Cook-like in this way. Honestly just not tasked with making challenging catches enough to really evaluate how good he can be in this area.
Speed - Rarely utilized as a vertical threat at Notre Dame, but has enough speed to challenge defenders down the seam, even in man coverage. Being in a downfield passing attack could unlock his best traits.
Run Blocking - He’s not as bad as many make him out to be, but he can get pushed back by bigger defenders and enter hang-on-for-dear-life mode pretty quickly. I thought his effort was significantly improved this season, really getting his hands inside defenders and even showing some torque and leg drive to expand gaps, especially out on the perimeter. Not textbook, but he usually gets the job done in space. Has to take better angles to the second level, but approaches targets under control. He isn't physically suited for in-line work against bigger defenders.
Contested Catch - Struggled to hold onto the ball through contact a few times, until the best catch of his life against Michigan of course. Was not in many contested catch situations, but did have 2-3 flashes over his career that kept you locked in, showing off a big catch radius, high-point abilities and strong hands. Could more opportunities unlock big play potential?
YAC - Zilch. Easily brought down by first contact and doesn’t make defenders miss in the open field. Easy pickings for tacklers 1v1. Minimal burst to challenge pursuit angles after the catch.
Separation Quickness - Slows down into his cuts and doesn’t show any deceptive footwork or body language to accent his patterns. Just not explosive enough to obtain consistent separation against better athletes in man coverage, but more fluid than a lot of collegiate linebackers, which led to open throwing windows in the short game at times.
Pass Protection - Asked to play in pass protection a lot, but typically helping out another blocker in the games I watched. Looked for work and didn’t just go through the motions. Not going to stun anyone with his punch, relies on athleticism to push defenders up the arc.
Competitive Toughness - Work ethic and on-field effort/toughness has been a concern at points of Mack’s career at Notre Dame, but I didn’t notice any of that on tape this season. Definitely something teams will have to monitor moving forward.
Athleticism/Size - Tested well at the Combine and has the ideal build for a move tight end. Looks like a big wide receiver and may have played lighter than his listed Combine weigh-in.
BEST TRAIT – Size/Fluidity
WORST TRAIT – YAC
RED FLAGS – Academically ineligible for the 2016 season. Suspended for violation of team rules for 2017 bowl game against LSU.
Alize Mack has looked the part for four years at Notre Dame, he just simply hasn’t developed into what they hoped he’d be. Granted, he was never a focal point of their offense, but it took him so long to bloom into even an adequate route runner or blocker that I’m not sure the Irish coaching staff can be blamed.
Mack’s best traits are being decently fast and being an easy mover, but his ball skills are generally untested, and his post-catch ability is negligible. I don’t know that he’ll ever be strong or nasty enough to earn his way onto the field as a blocker, which means Mack is going to have to flash a ton as a receiver to earn himself a roster spot. The traits are there, but the fact that it hasn't happened for him yet plus the character concerns would make me uneasy until the latter stages of the draft.
Round Grade: 5th