The 2023 NFL Draft process begins this week, with the NFL Combine kicking off Tuesday and positional live drills starting on Thursday. With this in mind, we will continue our scouting report coverage of this draft class with Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer. A prospect widely being considered as one of, if not the top tight end in this draft class due to his skillset and traits which seem as if they will pan out well at the NFL level. As we break down Michael Mayer below, the report will include a predictive 40-yard dash time, injury history, player comparison, as well as their NFL Draft projection.
Michael Mayer Projected 40 Time
I have Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer in the position to run a 4.6 to 4.65 second 40 yard dash at the 2023 NFL Combine. Compared to the average at this position of 4.70, this is above average by a decent amount, and would be a good time for a tight end. In the game film, it is clear that Mayer is able to get off the line at a quick pace, but also run hard through the stem of the route and get upfield relatively fast.
Michael Mayer Injury History
Michael Mayer has had a relatively clean sheet in terms of injury history. He was able to play 12 games in each of his 3 seasons at Notre Dame. The one blemish on this is a hip adductor strain in 2021, which did not force him out of any games, but did prove to be difficult to overcome in their game against Cincinnati and held him to limited reps against Virginia Tech. However, this does not seem to have any effect on Mayer now, and he looked to be full strength for his 2022 campaign.
Michael Mayer Scouting Report
- Exceptional second level blocker, utilizing good hand placement and great agility to engage at the next level, and drive back defenders.
- Performs at an elite level to bring down catches in traffic due to good mental processing, great hand/upper body strength, and good competitive toughness at the catch point.
- Displays solid quickness and get-off speed to run fast and hard through the stem of routes.
- Good ability to adjust to make difficult catches, with great manual dexterity and good ball tracking.
- Adequate long-distance speed and endurance to continue through deep routes
- Requires coaching to improve pass blocking technique, specifically pre-snap adjustments and punch
- Not an exceptional run blocker overall, due to adequate capability to win at the point of attack, and being pushed back rather often.
Michael Mayer is a three-year contributor for Notre Dame at the Tight End spot, and has been a major boon to their success the past three seasons. Notre Dame has had a combined record of 30-8 during Mayer’s tenure with the team. He possesses solid height and good weight for the tight end position in comparison to others at the position. His predicted 40 yard dash time of 4.65 is also above league average by 5 hundredths of a second.
Accolades & Achievements
Mayer also has a long list of college achievements, including first-team All-American in 2022 (via AP, Walter Camp Foundation, and The Sporting News) , Second-Team All-American in 2022 (via FWAA & AFCA), Third-Team All-American in 2021 (via AP), as well as the Freshman All-America First Team and All-ACC Third-Team in 2020.
- 2022: First-team All-American (AP, Walter Camp Foundation, The Sporting News)
- 2022: Second-team All-American (FWAA, AFCA)
- 2021: Third-team All-American (AP)
- 2020: Freshman All-America First Team (247Sports, The Athletic)
- 2020: All-ACC third team
Strengths & Weaknesses
He displays great physical traits as a whole, with strong hands, elite ball skills, and great concentration to bring in passes both high and low. Mayer also has good route running capabilities, with solid quickness through the route and great dexterity to get in and out of breaks. He maintains solid cuts through his career, creating the ability to separate horizontally across the field where his long range speed lacks. Mayer is also an elite level blocker at the second level, displaying good hand placement and great agility to engage at the next level to open gaps downfield. Finally, he is elite at the catch point, especially so in traffic, due to good mental processing, great hand & upper body strength, and good competitive toughness at the catch point.
However, Mayer possesses adequate long range speed and endurance, which limits his game to the short & intermediate route tree at times. He is also an adequate blocker overall, due to adequate ability to win at the point of attack, adequate blocking technique, and a struggle at times to adjust to pre-snap adjustments and motion to get in line. His ability to gain yards after the catch will be stunted by his adequate ability to get upfield quickly and elude defenders. Finally, Mayer has poor separation quickness at the top of routes. He does not possess the ability to truly separate via speed alone, which will force him and his quarterback to rely upon his ability to contest catches up top.
Michael Mayer Player Comparison
My player comparison for Michael Mayer is former NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey. The 2002 14th overall pick by the New York Giants possessed a rare ability to separate vertically at the catch point. He was also an extremely viable redzone threat during the peak years of his career. The height and weight, play style, approximated 40 yard dash time, and general traits of both players match up. Shockey was an extremely highly targeted player during his career due to his ability to bring down high-point catches, which matches Mayer’s play style.
Michael Mayer NFL Draft Projection
I have Michael Mayer currently listed as the top tight end in this years draft class, with him also ranking out at #1 on our 2023 NFL Draft Big Board Top 200 Prospect Rankings. The 2023 draft class has various tight ends climbing the rankings for various scouts and NFL media members. Some of these include Luke Musgrave, Dalton Kincaid, and Darnell Washington. However, I believe out of the tight end class, Mayer possesses the highest upside as an in-line tight end. He also has the ability to hone in on his blocking traits to truly become a boon to success in that regard.
With that said, I project Michael Mayer to go mid-to-late round 1. There are plenty of teams who could, and should, take a shot at him in that range. The first pick I could truly see him being taken at would be #15 to the Green Bay Packers. Who, regardless of if it’s a TE or WR they get, need receiving options quickly. Some other teams in the mix could be Tampa Bay at 19, the Los Angeles Chargers at 22, and the Cincinnati Bengals at 29. Any of these teams could use a true tight end 1 type prospect to bolster their success. Michael Mayer provides that for whomever he may be drafted by.