18th overall: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame
With the defense addressed early, the Lions now turn their attention to offense. Early last season, T.J. Hockenson was traded to the Vikings, opening a hole at the tight end position that has yet to be filled. The ranking of the top tight end prospects in this class seems to change from person to person, but Michael Mayer is widely considered the most “complete” player at the position. His game is reminiscent of former Cowboys star Jason Witten; he runs effective routes, has dependable hands, and blocks well. He showed adequate size and athleticism at the NFL combine. There aren’t many weaknesses to his game and for an offense looking to expand, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson would love to get his hands on him.
There will be obvious talk regarding the need for a quarterback here, but Jared Goff’s current contract gives them flexibility to instead improve the supporting cast around him. Getting both Jalen Carter and Michael Mayer, arguably the top players at the respective positions, starts this class off with a bang.