Why Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer is the Best Tight End in the 2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Mock Draft, Michael Mayer. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
2023 NFL Mock Draft, Michael Mayer. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer holds the title of TE1 in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. What makes Mayer such a great pro prospect? 

Age: 21 (July 6, 2001)
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 265 pounds

Four-Star HS Recruit
•36 Career College Starts
•Multiple 800+ Yard Seasons

Career Overview

Michael Mayer enters the 2023 NFL Draft as the unquestioned top tight end in the class. The Notre Dame standout was a mainstay in the passing game during his time with the Irish, and countless times Mayer dominated his assignment as a blocker as well.

This all-around skillset makes Mayer a first-round grade on my Big Board and paves the way for the exciting prospect to go somewhere on day one of the 2023 NFL Draft. Looking around at a majority of the best teams in the NFL, most have a steady contributor at the tight end position.

The growing importance of the passing game has opened the door for Mayer to become a household name as a rookie. What makes Mayer so special? What can he continue to work on? Let’s dive into a condensed scouting report to get the answers.

Versatility – Can line up anywhere; inline, slot, or even outside the numbers from time to time.
Experience/Production – Mayer has 36 career starts under his belt, with great production to boot.
Red-Zone Threat – Mayer, as you can imagine, is a monster target for QBs in the red zone. He can go up and get it but wins with his first step just as easily.
YAC Ability – It is not typical for a player of Michael Mayer’s size to create so effortlessly after the catch, but the ND tight end is an exception. It is not fun trying to tackle him.
Hands – Mayer had some concerning drops on tape as a younger prospect, but he has cleaned that up. As a pass catcher, he does well to snatch the ball out of the air, rather than allowing it to travel to his chest. As a blocker, his hand usage is exquisite. Strong, compact mover.

Blocking – Not always the cleanest technique. Hands are strong, but he stands tall and can struggle with his balance as a blocker. NFL coaching should round out any rough edges.
Speed – Michael Mayer is plenty fast enough to succeed in the NFL, but he won’t win foot races with NFL defensive backs. Quicker than he is fast.
Route-Tree Versatility – While Mayer runs routes well, he does not have an expansive route tree on tape. To match the Travis Kelce’s of the NFL world, it will need to be diversified.

2023 NFL Draft Grade

Top 20 (Late First Round)

•Michael Mayer will be a long-time starter in the NFL. Cleaning up his form as a blocker and adding more to his route tree can elevate Mayer into the top tier of NFL tight ends. His ability after the catch is awe-inspiring, and he has extensive experience on the gridiron from his 36 starts in South Bend. Don’t be surprised if Mayer winds up in an offense that makes him a focal point of the passing game in year one.