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Michael Mayer Raiders

How Will Michael Mayer Fit In Raiders’ Offense?

  • Jack McKessy
  • May 9, 2023
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During the offseason, a surprising trade of tight end Darren Waller to the New York Giants left the Las Vegas Raiders with a sudden, pressing need at the position. To address it, the Raiders drafted a prospect that many believed to be the top tight end in his draft class: Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. With big shoes to fill, how might Mayer fare with his new team and in a new offense?

To start with, we can look at the head coach/offensive play-caller that Mayer joins in Las Vegas. Josh McDaniels is entering his second year at the helm for the Raiders looking to right the ship after a poor 2022 showing. Trading away an offensive playmaker and elite pass-catcher like Waller (when healthy) doesn’t make things easier for McDaniels and the Raiders. With that being the case, and looking at the history of McDaniels’ offenses, it isn’t hard to understand why the team invested a second-round selection in the position.

Before becoming the Raiders’ head coach, McDaniels spent 14 years (non-consecutively) as the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator. During that time, he got plenty of experience in putting together offenses that prominently featured tight ends as leading weapons in the passing game. Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady were one of the most dominant duos in football during McDaniels’ years in New England, and that’s a dynamic that the now-Raiders head coach no doubt would love to recreate in Las Vegas.

In addition to McDaniels’ past experience running offenses with a focus on tight ends, Mayer will be joining a quarterback with similar experience. Jimmy Garoppolo spent all six of his seasons in San Francisco throwing to one of the best tight ends in today’s game in George Kittle, a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Garoppolo also has experience in the McDaniels offense from his time in New England, which may only further reinforce his and the Raiders’ use of tight ends in 2023.

This is all great news for Mayer and his potential production during his first year in the NFL. He already has all of the tools necessary to be a reliable pass-catching tight end at the next level with his size, great ball skills, and good hands. He can play in-line, from the slot, or even on the outside and win from any of those spots. Finally, Mayer’s ability to pull in contested catches with consistency could allow him to become one of Garoppolo’s favorite targets quickly.

On top of everything the Notre Dame product would bring as an extra receiver, he’s a strong in-line blocker that could help lead the way for running back Josh Jacobs, who’s coming off of a breakout season that saw him take the rushing title. Mayer can stay on the field for any and all plays in McDaniels’ offense and find a way to contribute.

Mayer might not immediately be asked to be the leading target for Garoppolo and McDaniels given the other weapons in Las Vegas: wide receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow. But given the histories of both his new quarterback and offensive play-caller, Michael Mayer still can expect to be a major contributor for the Raiders during his rookie season.

Written By

Jack McKessy