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2023 NFL Draft Preview: Scouting report on Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer

Boston College v Notre Dame Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Looking at the current construction of the Seattle Seahawks offense, another skill position player does not seem like a major need. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are each coming off 1,000+ receiving yards seasons and Noah Fant is a solid tight end. However, when you go underneath the hood it appears a lot more pertinent for Seattle to add another weapon for the long term. Noah Fant, the team’s number one tight end is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Then on the receiver side of the depth chart Tyler Lockett is dependable as ever but he in his 30s, and the team has gotten little production from Dee Eskridge.

Due to those long-term question marks, Seattle should address their potential pass catching shortage this offseason before it becomes an actual problem next year. We have already covered two of the top receivers in this class in USC’s Jordan Addison and TCU’s Quentin Johnston. Although, the top pass catcher in this year’s draft class might actually be a tight end in Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer.

Height - 6 foot 5 - Weight - 251 pounds

Games watched - 2022 Ohio State, California, USC, UNC


  • Mayer uses his size perfectly throughout the course of the route in order to either create separation or box out defenders. He leans on defenders without pushing off near and at the stem, which allows him to present a better target for the QB. On jump balls Mayer has the size and athleticism to both high point the ball and shield off the defender from getting to the catch point.
  • When running slants Mayer uses a jab step to the outside to get the defender to open up the wrong hip. This allows for him to create a ton of natural separation.
  • Mayer is also able to create separation on routes such as whips and jerks as he is rather quick out of his break for a player of his size. Additionally, he runs them with a good (6 on 1-9 scale) FBI (Football intelligence) in terms of body movement to try and sell the defender on a different route.
  • On deep routes Mayer does not have the speed to run away from or stack the defender. But, he has the body control and size to still be a weapon on these routes near the sideline. Despite his size he can fluidly turn his shoulder and hips around to locate and high point the football. His ability on fades as well as in the quick passing game is going to make him a major threat in the red zone.
  • Mayer has an overall good understanding of zone coverage as he routinely knows where to settle down.
  • Mayer has very good (7) hands that allow him to pluck the ball out of the air that are away from his body even if his momentum is taking him away from the ball. He never lets the ball travel into his body, as he always goes and attacks it.
  • He is an extremely physical runner who is able to run through defenders, more often than not requiring multiple defenders to bring him down. Mayer has great contact balance which allows him to bounce off of poor tacklers and continue running downfield.
  • On wham or sift blocks Mayer navigates traffic well. He blocks with good pace as a lead blocker as he does not shoot through the gap more so being patient and looking for a defender to pick up like a offensive lineman.
  • Mayer shows a great understanding of which shoulder to attack to seal off the defender from the hole.


  • Mayer is a little sluggish in his first few steps as he does not have a quick burst or anything like that.
  • Mayer can get a little choppy at the stem of routes in which he is trying to sell a two way go.
  • On third downs Mayer does not always run to the sticks, turning his shoulders to the quarterback a yard or two before the yard to gain.
  • There are times on whams where his lack of burst hurts him as quicker edge defenders and backers are able to beat him to the spot.
  • Despite being a willing blocker, Mayer does allow defenders down the field to disengage with him a little too quickly. He has a tendency to lean over his feet at times as a blocker which does cause him to lose some of his balance.

Floor/ceiling - Mayer’s combination of rare size and strength, strong hands, route running savvy, ability to create natural separation and full tight end route tree gives him the ceiling of a high-end starter. However, his lack of a burst, occasional choppiness at the stem and inconsistent third down route depths give him the floor of a low-end starter.

Grade - 6.7 - 3-down starter on the first day of his second season - Mid first

Grade explanation - From a pure talent perspective, it is difficult to argue against Mayer being a top 10 player in this class, but he falls victim to the positional value argument. He has a blend of skills and traits that are going to allow him to be an impactful player for an offense in his rookie season. Mayer is largely maxed out in terms of his size and talent which is why his ceiling is so close to his base grade. Although, it is also the reason he has the floor of a starter, which at the end of the day is all you can ask for from your first-round pick.

Schematic fit - Mayer is the type of talent that does not need to play in a particular scheme in order to excel. He can be used as a blocking endline tight end in the running game. Then in the passing game he can be used anywhere from off the tackle in a 3-point stance to an “X” receiver. Mayer’s success in the NFL is not going to come down to the scheme that he is playing in, rather whether or not the team’s offensive coordinator is willing to use him as a weapon rather than a straight tight end.

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