Michael Mayer leads the list of top tight end prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft. Here’s why the Notre Dame standout could be so special at the next level.
Notre Dame has a pretty good track record when it comes to producing NFL talent at the tight end positions. Over the past two decades, they have churned out competent prospects like Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, and Kyle Rudolph.
Over just the past two years alone, Notre Dame saw two tights go in the first two days of the NFL Draft in Cole Kmet and Tommy Tremble. Now they might have the best prospect at the position they’ve seen in years.
Michael Mayer is a 20-year-old tight end from Notre Dame who has the skill set to dominate at the next level. It didn’t take long for the former 5-star recruit to explode onto the scene of one of the nation’s most prestigious college football programs.
As a freshman in 2020, Mayer immediately stepped in for the recently-drafted Kmet and turned heads with his outstanding performance. During his sophomore season in 2021, Mayer earned an impressive 71 receptions on 840 yards and 7 touchdowns. Statistically, this blew each of Kmet’s three seasons at Notre Dame out of the water.
Recently, Pro Football Focus ranked the top-5 2023 NFL Draft tight ends ahead of the 2022 season. PFF Draft expert Michael Renner had Michael Mayer as his number one tight end.
Renner praised Mayer for his ability to dominate the in-line role — something he admitted 2021 standout Kyle Pitts will never be able to do. Mayer isn’t the same level of athlete as Pitts, but he’s a bullying run blocker who can dominate at the catch point.
Mayer could go high in the 2023 NFL Draft
Mayer is expected to declare early for the 2023 NFL Draft. If this proves to be the case, he will be just 21 years old at the time of the draft next year. Mayer is listed at 6’4 1/2” and 251 pounds, but you would think he’s much bigger based on his aggressive playstyle and ability to dominate at the point of attack. Impressively, Mayer is also projected to run a 4.62, according to DraftScout.com.
If Mayer can build on his impressive 2021 campaign, he will have a chance to go very early in the NFL Draft next year — perhaps even somewhere inside the top-25 picks. Mayer reminds me of a better prospect version of Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth, and he could be very comparable as a prospect to T.J. Hockenson coming out of Iowa in 2019.
After his junior season in 2022, there’s little doubt that Mayer is going to be more productive than either of these prospects, and he will be younger than both Hockenson and Freiermuth were coming into the league.
For teams in need of a do-it-all tight end in the 2023 NFL Draft, Michael Mayer is your guy. He has the makings of a long-time NFL starter with Pro Bowl upside and he’s only starting to scratch the surface of his potential.