GREEN BAY, Wis. – At this season’s NFL trade deadline, the Green Bay Packers made a play to get Las Vegas Raiders star Darren Waller. And that was with Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis under contract. With Green Bay’s top tight ends hitting free agency, it stands to reason that the position will be a focus in the 2023 NFL Draft – regardless of where Aaron Rodgers is throwing passes.
In his new mock draft, published after Sunday’s Divisional playoff games, College Football News Publisher Pete Fiutak went with Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer.
In 24 games during his final two seasons, Mayer led all tight ends with 138 receptions for 1,649 yards and 16 touchdowns. Mayer was named an All-American following both seasons. Mayer set school records for a tight end with his 71 receptions for 840 yards in 2021 and his nine touchdown receptions in 2022.
Among tight ends with at least 35 targets this season, Mayer ranked first in deep catches (eight) and contested catches (17), second in first downs (44) and fifth in missed tackles (12), according to Pro Football Focus. While perhaps not the most explosive tight end in the class, he is a rare three-down player and not simply an overgrown receiver with limited ability to do the dirty work. That’s what has him atop an unusually strong draft class at the position.
As noted by Ryan Roberts of SI.com’s Irish Breakdown, “The biggest question marks surrounding Mayer have been just how well he will test whether it is at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine or the Notre Dame pro day, specifically in terms of straight-line speed. There is this Assumption swirling that he isn’t a very good athlete and that testing could go a long way to disproving that narrative.”
Also in the mock, the Chicago Bears grabbed a game-changing defensive tackle with the first overall pick and the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings focused on their secondaries.
100 Days of Mocks
Starting Jan. 17, when there were 100 days until the start of the NFL Draft, we started our mock-worthy goal of 100 mock drafts in 100 days. Here’s the 100-day-countdown series.
100 days: First-round quarterback?
99 days: Trading for outside linebacker
98 days: Stud tight end
97 days: This pick would break a long drought
96 days: Daniel Jeremiah goes back to Georgia
95 days: Two firsts if Rodgers is traded
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Aaron Jones and the running backs
Christian Watson and the receivers
Robert Tonyan and the tight ends
David Bakhtiari, Zach Tom and the Offensive line
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