AFC scout: ‘Mayer would be ideal pick for Packers’
By GERY WOELFEL
When Michael Mayer met with a host of reporters at the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis, two things became quickly apparent: his passion for football and his unshakeable self-confidence.
Mayer, the former University of Notre Dame tight end who is regarded by most NFL officials as the premier player at his position in this year’s draft, spoke with conviction – just like he did when he convened with representatives from most of the NFL’s 32 teams.
“I’m intense about the game of football,’’ Mayer said forcefully during his media session. “I love the game of football.’’
As for his brimming confidence, Mayer’s response when queried about his football abilities spoke volumes of his undeniable belief in himself.
“I think I can do anything any team asked me to do,’’ Mayer said confidently. “I can be in the backfield and I can block. I can be a fullback and block. I can be at the end, I can be out by the numbers, I can be in the slot and run routes.
“I can do it all, man. And that’s really how I feel. And I think there’s a lot teams that believe the same thing.’’
A lot of teams are thoroughly convinced the strapping Mayer is best all-around and most ready-to-play tight end in the draft. . Physically, he is a beast. He stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 252 pounds. His body is chiseled.
What’s more, Mayer has 9 3/8 hands to go along with 32 1/8 arm length and 76-inch wing span.
Mayer also had unequivocally the best resume of any tight end draft prospect. The one he fashioned at Notre Dame is impeccable.
Last season, his third as a starter for the Fighting Irish, Mayer had 67 receptions for 809 yards and nine touchdowns. He finished his spectacular collegiate career with 180 catches, 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Mayer left Notre Dame as the school’s all-time receptions leader. And that’s saying a lot as Notre Dame is Tight End U. It has produced a slew of exceptional tight ends, among them being Mark Bavaro, Tyler Eifert, Kyle Rudolph, Ken MacAfee, Cole Kmet and Dave Casper, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,
Mayer has been favorably compared to some of today’s best tight ends like Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs and Greg Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers.
In Mayer’s mind, he is more similar to Kelce, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion.
“The way he runs his routes, the way he does his thing. It’s like no other,’’ Mayer said of Kelce who, at 6-5, 250 pounds, virtually mirrors his frame. “He’s expanding the tight end game greatly.
“And so I’ve got to go with Trav. Got to meet him last summer. Great guy. And just to watch film on him, see how he plays his game … He’s a tremendous at the tight end position.’’
So, where Mayer will end up being picked in the upcoming NFL draft, which commences April 27? The prevailing sentiment is he’ll be selected in the middle of the first round. The Steelers (17th pick) and Buccaneers (19th pick) have shown a keen interest in Mayer.
So have the Packers.
The Packers, who have the 15th overall pick, have a gaping hole at tight end after veteran Robert Tonyan recently signed with the Chicago Bears. Marcedes Lewis is also expected to move on or retire as he turns 39 on May 19.
Mayer had a formal interview with the Packers at the Combine.
“They need a tight end badly,’’ an AFC scout said of the Packers. “They have Tyler Davis and (Josiah) Deguara and they aren’t the answer.
“I talked to some other (NFL) scouts and execs who interviewed him (Mayer) and they said he blew them away. He’s very, very smart; he’ll pick up any system fast. And he can play.
“He checks all the boxes. It’s been many years since someone at that position checked all the boxes, whether from a football standpoint or a character standpoint.
“I think Mayer would be the ideal pick for the Packers.’’