As expected, Notre Dame star tight end Michael Mayer announced that he will forgo his senior season in South Bend and enter the 2023 NFL Draft.
Considered to be the best tight end in the nation, Mayer finished his Notre Dame career as the all-time program leader among tight ends in receptions (180), yards (2,009) and touchdowns (18). A five-star recruit from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky back in 2020, Mayer lived up to expectations with the Notre Dame. It’s just time for him to take his game to the pros.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience at Notre Dame. The first reason I picked Notre Dame was the NFL; it was on my mind a very, very long time. I saw a lot of good tight ends in the NFL from Notre Dame. That was one of the main reasons I went there,” Michael Mayer on decision to go pro.
At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, Mayer has a huge catch radius. He’s also surprisingly athletic for someone his size and can take the top off defenses. This type of ability from the tight end spot in the modern NFL is coveted big time.
As one of the top tight ends to enter the draft over the past several years, numerous teams picking in the first round will have interest in Mayer. Here, we look at three ideal landing spots.
Related: Sportsnaut’s 2023 NFL mock draft
Las Vegas Raiders find Darren Waller replacement
Despite signing a contract extension this past offseason, there’s been talk that the Raiders might trade Waller. He’s also now currently on injured reserve and sidelined for the remainder of the season.
As with every team at this early stage in the 2023 NFL Draft process, it’s way too early to tell what direction Vegas will go. We’re not sure Derek Carr will be back under center in 2023. We also know there’s major issues on the offensive line and in the defensive secondary.
With that said, Michael Mayer would provide another tremendous pass-catching option to go with All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams. We also know that Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels loves to use tight ends in his offensive system. Currently slated to pick No. 12 overall in the NFL Draft, Mayer would be a home run pick for Vegas.
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL power rankings
Green Bay Packers get that tight end with Michael Mayer
Current Packers starting tight end Robert Tonyan is slated to become a free agent following the 2022 season. He’s also struggled doing anything outside of the short passing game, averaging a mere 8.3 yards per catch and 6.7 yards per target.
That has not been an issue at Notre Dame despite the Irish struggling at quarterback during Mayer’s tenure. He averaged 11.7 yards per catch in South Bend. Currently slated to pick 11th overall, the only question here is value for Green Bay. Whether Aaron Rodgers returns in 2023 or it’s Jordan Love’s team, wide receiver has been a major problem for the struggling squad. Using a near top-10 selection on a tight end might not provide general manager Brian Gutekunst with the value they need.
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL offense rankinks
New England Patriots make surprise NFL Draft pick
It was ahead of the 2021 season that New England spent big bucks on tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. To say that it has not panned out would be an understatement. The two have combined for 47 catches in 12 games this season.
Whatever the Patriots’ offensive scheme is moving forward, that’s just not sustainable. The team would save north of $15 million against the cap by releasing these two. We must also note that Mayer would be a major upgrade from a pass-catching perspective.
- Michael Mayer stats (2022): 67 receptions, 809 yards, 9 TD
If the Pats are sold on Mac Jones to be their quarterback of the future, adding an elite-level tight end to the mix should be in the cards. Mayer is the definition of that heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.