With the April 27th NFL draft quickly approaching, the top prospect from Notre Dame football will be star tight end Michael Mayer. After a genuinely dominant few years in college, Mayer will continue the “Tight End University” tradition in South Bend; here are some ideal landing spots for the star.
Remember, these aren’t necessarily teams that I think should spend a first-round pick on a tight end, just teams that could ideally use a stud tight end on the squad.
Notre Dame football to the Green Bay Packers
The Packers are a team that would benefit from finding a full-time star tight end like Michael Mayer. While it’s probably not ideal to spend a first-round selection on a tight end, Mayer is the type of guy you can afford to do so with. The Packers highest graded TE, according to PFF, was 38-year-old Marcedes Lewis. Statistically, their best tight end, specifically regarding receiving, was Robert Tonyan, who has recently dealt with injuries and ups and downs.
Mayer would immediately be a high-level blocking and receiving tight end in the Packer’s offense, regardless of who the quarterback is. According to PFF, Mayer received the second-best receiving grade behind Utah’s Dalton Kincaid. His run-blocking grade was 5th overall in college football with 390 snaps at 82.1. He’d fit perfectly into Green Bay’s plans.
Notre Dame football to the Cincinnati Bengals
Again, like the Packers, the Bengals are a team that could find themselves needing a long-term solution at the position. Hayden Hurst still seems to have some juice left in the tank, but his return isn’t guaranteed as a free agent this offseason. Enter Mayer, who would be a relatively cheap and controllable tight end that fits perfectly with a budding young offense centered around Burrow and Chase.
Given how much attention is paid to Chase, Higgins, and Boyd, imagine the amount of room Mayer would have to work with. Of course, Mixon is also a massive part of that offense; given Mayer’s outstanding run-blocking abilities, he’d mesh well in both the run and pass games.
Notre Dame football to the Detroit Lions
Last but certainly not least, one of my favorites is Mayer to the Detroit Lions. We all know the Lions just traded away TJ Hockenson, a top-5 or so TE in the league, and while they have some solid players, they could use that future star again. The Lions could do this in many ways, including trading back and picking up assets or consolidating some of their later picks to move back up.
Though I love Mayer and his potential and already extremely talented skill set, I wouldn’t recommend using a top-10 pick on a tight end. Pick 6 for the Lions could be better spent elsewhere, leaving pick 18 or two 2nd round picks. 18 may be a perfect spot to snag their replacement for Hockenson. They could trade back into the 20s, accumulate another asset, and scoop their future TE there. The options are endless.
There’s always talk, for whatever reason, about Notre Dame prospects falling on NFL draft day, and in some cases, they do. However, this could be exactly like the Kyle Hamilton situation. If Mayer slides, he’ll still be the best tight end in the class, possibly a top performer in the league, just like Hamilton.