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TE Michael Mayer: NFL Draft scouting report

We break down Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer with a scouting report heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer was taken by the Las Vegas Raiders with the No. 35 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Raiders traded up with the Indinapolis Colts to make the pick. Mayer entered the draft as the projected No. 1 tight end, but was the third one taken off the board. He will now try to fill the void left behind by Darren Waller.

Yet another blue chip tight end prospect to come from Notre Dame, Michael Mayer might just be the Irish’s best in recent years. He’s got the potential to be a Week 1 starter right out of the gate in the NFL, and he’ll be a coveted prospect for teams picking in the later half of the first round.

Mayer’s breakout came during his sophomore season in 2021. That year, he caught 71 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, Mayer had 67 catches for 809 yards and nine touchdowns.

Michael Mayer: Scouting Report

Mayer’s respectable 4.7 time in the 40 at the Combine, belies a real quickness off the snap that makes him a regular threat on seam routes. Pay attention to his hands too. His smooth mitts catch the ball smoothly, and his overall strength makes him a natural on contested catches. His hands are also tough on defenders, helping him get off the line and block like a lineman. He’s the kind of tight end who can be a reliable safety blanket on throws to the first two levels, as well as a red zone threat.

His blocking ability stands out too. Mayer was a natural in pass protection in college, and his blocking technique stands out over the other tight ends in this year’s draft.

Mayer doesn’t look like the chunk-play tight ends who rack up big numbers in the pros, especially when it comes to his run-after-the-catch ability, and he’s still got some polishing to do on his route running. Still, he should be a great matchup over the middle against linebackers and someone who makes tough catches in crowded spaces when it matters most.

Mock Draft landing spots

Todd McShay had Mayer going to the Green Bay Packers with the 15th pick in his most recent mock draft at ESPN. McShay’s colleague had Mayer picked at No. 18 in his latest mock, landing with the Detroit Lions.

Fantasy football implications

Mayer will play right away with almost any team in the NFL, though he might see more work as a blocker right away. However, his hands and ability to snag catches in traffic should give him some touchdown upside as well as a decent volume in PPR.

Of the two ESPN mock drafts, he’s likely to have a bigger impact with the Lions right away. Before they dealt TJ Hockenson to the Vikings, he saw a steady workload with Jared Goff under center. That should translate well for him in Detroit.

It’s harder to say how he might fare in Green Bay given the uncertainty at quarterback there. However, since Robert Tonyan signed with the Bears this spring, Mayer projects as the starting tight end if he were to land in Green Bay.