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NFL Draft Profile – TE Michael Mayer

By Doug Orth | 4/26/23 |

Michael Mayer


College: Notre Dame
Height/Weight: 6’ 4 1/2"/249
Hands: 9 1/2"
Age: 22 (at the time of the 2023 season opener)

Important NFL Combine Numbers

40-Yard Dash: 4.7
Vertical Jump: 32.5’’
Broad Jump: 9’ 10’’
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.44 (pro day)
3-Cone: 7.26 (pro day)

College Production (Stats)

High-end NFL Player Comp(s): Jason Witten
Low-end NFL Player Comp(s): Tyler Higbee

Best Scheme Fit: Universal. Probably fits best as a traditional "Y" tight end due to his ability and willingness to block.

Best Team Fit(s): Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Raiders, Bengals, Panthers

Non-bolded times - Good examples of attribute
Bolded times - Average/poor examples of attribute

Position-Specific Attributes and Grades (2022)
Attribute Att Grade Scale Examples
Ball Tracking 9.0 10.0 7:56, 26:34, 59:55
Contested Catch/Body Control 9.5 10.0 4:04, 7:56, 9:55, 22:41, 26:34, 59:55
Hands 9.5 10.0

5:23, 6:08, 9:55, 22:41, 26:34, 59:55

Release 7.0 10.0 6:37
Route-Running 7.0 10.0

0:40, 4:04, 9:28, 26:34

Run After Catch 7.0 10.0

9:55, 24:53, 35:57

Physicality/Competitiveness 7.5 8.0 5:24, 5:57
Blocking 5.5 6.0

0:08, 0:33, 1:31, 9:03
4:49, 43:57, 93:56

Separation 1.5 4.0 9:28, 59:55
0:40, 10:45
Speed 1.5 2.0 59:55
Film Grade 65.0 80.0

Pre-Draft Fantasy Prospect Grade* (out of 50): 39.0

* - How well does his skill set carry over to the fantasy game? For tight ends, a player needs to be a realistic threat for 60 catches and 800 receiving yards at some point in their career to be a candidate for a perfect grade. Positional scarcity at the pro level is also a part of the equation.


Mayer is a throwback tight end if there ever was one. Not only does he possess grown-man strength and tenacity as a blocker, but he also doubles as a quality receiver in the short and intermediate passing game as well as the red zone. (Mayer led all tight ends with 17 contested catches in 2022, per Pro Football Focus.) He has probably run every short and intermediate route in the book, although Notre Dame seemed to like him the most on crossers. Perhaps the most impressive parts of his game are his body control, play strength at the catch point and the comfort he shows in playing the ball in the air. Mayer is by no means fast, but he is very good at transitioning his speed at the top of his route, creating just enough separation. (This helps to explain how he led all tight ends with eight deep catches - throws that traveled at least 20 yards - and 218 deep yards, per PFF.) Kentucky's Mr. Football in 2019 is more fundamentally sound as a blocker than the overwhelming majority of tight end prospects, so it should only be a matter of time before he emerges as one of the best at it in the NFL. That alone will make him hard to take off the field. Mayer should have no problem adapting to wherever he lines up after playing inline on 61.9 percent of his snaps and 38.1 percent of his snaps detached from the formation.


Much like Jason Witten later in his career, it is hard to understand sometimes how Mayer gets open sometimes because he lacks explosiveness. The former five-star recruit also does not change direction particularly well on routes that call for it, which can sometimes make it hard for him to create separation against any linebacker or safety. Although he can be a load to bring down, Mayer's ability to pick up yards after the catch in 2022 (4.8 yards after catch per reception) was disappointing, to say the least. What this means is he will have to rely even more on his contested-catch skill at the next level. While he has all the qualities he needs to be a dominant force as a blocker, his execution is lacking at times. Sometimes, he takes a bad angle in his attempt to block. Other times, he starts strong but does not sustain the block. NFL teams will need to consider his supporting cast at Notre Dame before letting his school-record level of production for a tight end (180 catches, 2,099 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns) factor too heavily into their grades.

Bottom Line

Mayer's desire to block and upside as a blocker will be enough alone to get him immediate playing time at the next level. That alone will keep him on the field while he earns the trust of his coach and quarterback as a receiver, which should not take long considering how big and sure-handed of a target he is. He should continue to excel in the red zone and contested-catch situations, further guaranteeing him a hefty amount of snaps every year.

Mayer may never be fast enough to be a true threat down the seam in the NFL, but he has the potential to be better after the catch than he showed in college. Some of that improvement may come as a result of playing at a slightly lower weight since he seems to be a bit heavy-footed at times. Regardless of whether he plays lighter or heavier, Mayer should have a long career as a steady second option in the passing game (third option at worst) who thrives in the red zone. His ability to be more than that will depend largely on his ability to improve his overall athleticism.


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Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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