CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 24: Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Michael Mayer (87) celebrates a first down catch during a football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the North Carolina Tar Heels on September 24, 2022, at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC. (Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 24: Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Michael Mayer (87) celebrates a first down catch during a football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the North Carolina Tar Heels on September 24, 2022, at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC. (Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Is Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer Gronk 2.0?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Michael Mayer does things that most tight-ends cannot do.

That is because he has the rare combination of size, quickness, athletic ability and aggression.

I was like, “wow,” when I turned on the game film and saw him for the first time.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying he is the second coming of Rob Gronkowski, because there was only one Gronk.

However, Mayer is clearly dominant at the collegiate level and he will be elite at the next level as well.

What’s so impressive about Mayer?

For starters, he’s a complete tight-end.

He an accomplished route runner and he is one heck of a blocker.

I mean he gets after it in pass and run blocking. It was plain fun watching him drive block defenders.

Of course, this only adds to his value as most tight-ends are only good at one or the other.

Finding a complete tight-end who can do both at an elite level is like buying the winning lottery ticket.

Mayer is a nasty route runner

He has initial quickness releasing and he is able to break off routes in ways that tight-ends are not supposed to be able to do at his size.

He’s like a wide receiver in the body of a tight-end.

This works out for Mayer because a lot of linebackers and safeties have noticeable tightness in their hips and can’t change direction on a dime like he can.

It’s like taking candy from a baby watching Mayer run routes.

What about the drops?

Yes, the old saying is true, nobody is perfect.

I only write what is shown to me on game film, and I only say something is a problem if it shows up as a consistent pattern.

🚩In all three games viewed, Mayer had a case of the dropsies consistently🚩

He even double clutched a couple that he was able to eventually haul in.

Is Mayer too good to be true? Are his hands too hard?

I wouldn’t go that far because I think his natural skill set is going to carry him at the next level, but will he drop an occasional pass that will break your heart?

Probably.

If you don’t believe me watch the end of the FSU game when the score is tied 38-38. Notre Dame is driving in the 4th quarter with 11 seconds left and a pass hits Mayer dead square in the hands downfield, and he flat-out drops it. Notre Dame still went on to win the game in overtime, but that pass Mayer dropped would have put the Fighting Irish in field goal position at the end of regulation.

His drop very could have cost Notre Dame the game.

Mayer dropped or double clutched grabs in the other two games as well.

So far in 2022 to date, he has 22 receptions on 34 targets. Last season, he had 71 grabs on 99 targets.

It’s something to definitely keep an eye on.

#87 Michael Mayer 6-foot-4, 265 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: First-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Projected by 92.9% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of September 26, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: FSU, Cincinnati and Wisconsin (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

2021 stats: 71 receptions (99 targets) 840 yards (11.8 avg.), 7 TD, 52-long

Level of competition: High

NFL comparable: Mark Bavaro

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Gifted athlete who runs polished looking routes and he is a heck of a blocker. Has quick initial release to gain route leverage. Big fluid target to throw at. Boxes out defenders well with his frame. Has cat-quick ability to break off routes and create separation. Can reach up with long arms and haul it in, but he has an average catch radius (passes too high or too low tend to go incomplete). Drops some he shouldn’t. Dangerous in the short to intermediate route levels. Determined and tough to bring down after the catch. Nimble enough to make a defender, or two miss after receptions. Physical and aggressive pass and run blocker. Uses hands and leverage well. Destroying and driving defenders out is important to him. Selfless blocker downfield too. Blue-chip prospect who will move the meter.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Is he dropping passes he shouldn’t drop?
  2. How does his catch-radius look?
  3. Is he a consistent producer again?
  4. Does he stay healthy?

Mayer looked impressive and he looked like a man amongst boys.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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