NEXT ON OUR SCOUTING REPORTS IS MICHAEL MAYER. CHECK OUT OUR OTHER 2023 NFL DRAFT SCOUTING REPORTS HERE
- Height: 6’4”
- Weight: 251 Lbs
- Position: Tight End
- School: Notre Dame
- Year: Junior
Michael Mayer is the top-ranked tight end in the 2023 NFL Draft and he displays a robust, physical and diverse skillset which makes him one of the top players in the 2023 class.
Born in Independence, Kentucky, where he attended Covington Catholic High School. Mayer had a stellar high school career, which was topped off by an excellent senior year in 2019, which saw him have 49 receptions, 970 yards and 15 touchdowns. It meant Covington Catholic won the Kentucky 5A State Championship, a game which would see Mayer be named MVP. That year saw Mayer win the Gatorade Kentucky Football Player of the Year and he was labelled a 4-star recruit.
Mayer was the #48 ranked player nationally by 247sports.com and the #2 tight end when committing to Notre Dame.
Michael Mayer hit the ground running at Notre Dame. Playing in all 12 games in his freshmen season before playing and starting in all 12 games in his sophomore season. Mayer’s sophomore season in 2021 saw him become a John Mackey Award finalist in an outstanding season. Mayer went for 71 receptions, 840 yards and 7 touchdowns setting school records along the way
Mayer is as polished as tight ends come out of college and is widely expected to hear his name called in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Mayer’s skill profile is balanced and broad. Being able to affect the game as an outstanding pass-catching option and a superior blocker. Seldom do you see a tight end enter the NFL with Mayer’s imposing size and skillset.
See the video below which shows just how good of a prospect Michael Mayer is.
- Willing blocker
In the mould of a traditional tight end, Michael Mayer is the full package at the tight end position. What he offers makes him an extremely easy projection. His size and physicality gives him the ability to impact the game in so many different ways.
Firstly, let’s start with his receiving ability.
Mayer is composed, disciplined and measured in his route running. Mayer has a diverse route tree and is a smooth, intelligent and instinctual route runner. During his routes, he is savvy and shows nuance to stay controlled. But, he also has the ability to shake his opponent creating separation.
Mayer’s capacity to catch well through traffic makes him a proficient weapon, particularly over the middle. His terrific body control, combined with his remarkable physicality, power and strength, means he is also a yards-after-the-catch machine. Using his motor and determination to torpedo through tackles and contact just adds to Mayer’s resume.
Mayer’s optimal size for the position means he has sufficient length to have an extremely large catch radius. It means he can pluck the ball out of the sky. Add all his measurables together and you get someone who is a complete mismatch at the catch point. He is simply a first down finder and reliable redzone weapon.
Mayer’s pass-catching ability means that he is a treat at all three levels. He can line up in-line and also split outside. But, it is his ability to create, when running up the seams, that creates a real nightmare for defences.
Secondly, as a blocker, Mayer again adds versatility. Mayer is a strong and reliable blocker, who shows satisfactory levels of technique and effort. His hands are punchy, he can diagnose presnap displaying his awareness and has the lower body strength to maintain his anchor.
- Sustaining blocks
- Sharper routes
The biggest question mark on Michael Mayer is his athletic ability. Mayer is by no means a rare athlete and his athletic ability is probably best categorised as functional. While he is a horror to deal with at the catch point and has immense body control, he simply can’t and won’t be able to contort his body like a souped-up wide receiver.
This isn’t to take away from what Mayer is. He moves extremely well for a man who is over 250 pounds. But, there is little doubt that some tight ends will run faster, jump higher, be more explosive and overall test better when that time comes. Mayer should not get lost in the crowd though, he will have shown all he needs to on tape.
On the field, Mayer could sustain his blocks for longer. It would be nice to see him finish blocks, especially as a run blocker too. As a blocker, Mayer can lunge forward to try and redeem some leverage. He can lean forward providing the advantage to his man, he can just do with maintaining those blocks for a little bit longer.
Lastly, for all that Mayer does well as a route runner, his routes are smooth but aren’t sharp. Again, this can in part be down to his constrained athletic profile. But, that isn’t Mayer’s game and we need to be careful when comparing him to other tight ends.
Michael Mayer’s skills are extensive and wide-ranging. He is an all-round package who is ready to take the next step and is already pro-ready
Due to the combination of Mayer’s skill set and his jersey number, he has been labelled as ‘Baby Gronk’ for some time now. While the tag is unjustified and creates unnecessary and unrealistic expectations for a young prospect, you can see the parallels.
Michael Mayer is ready to make an impact on an NFL team right now and will be a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
How good of a prospect is Michael Mayer? Let us know over on Twitter @NinetynineYards and @Owain_Jones_
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Image Credit: NBC
Video Credit: Breakshot Media