Packers Linked to ‘Immediate Difference-Maker’ at Tight End

Getty The Green Bay Packers could give Aaron Rodgers another weapon in tight end Michael Mayer.

The Green Bay Packers could have a drastically different group of tight ends next year, and general manager Brian Gutekunst could find a dynamic weapon at the position in the 2023 NFL draft.

Despite a down year with a 5-8 record, the Packers have found a pair of young and talented weapons in Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. While both players are shown real potential as rookies, the Packers are lacking a young talent with similar upside at the tight end position.

Luke Easterling with The Draft Wire provided his latest 2023 NFL mock draft heading into the college football bowl season with an answer to Green Bay’s tight end problem. With the 11th overall pick in his mock, Easterling had the Packers take tight end Michael Mayer out of Notre Dame.

“The defense could use some trench help or a safety, but the value’s just not there in this scenario,” Easterling said. “The same is true for the offensive line prospects left on the board here. That points them toward a pass-catcher, and Mayer has the complete skill set to be an immediate difference-maker on every down.”

With a trio of young weapons in Watson, Doubs, and Mayer, 39-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers could be persuaded to run it back in 2023, something that he’s already discussed when talking about Watson.

Why Would the Packers Need a Tight End?

It may not seem like Green Bay’s biggest need right now, but the Packers are going to need to reassess the tight end position next offseason.

Robert Tonyan was once one of Rodgers’ favorite red-zone targets, but after returning from his torn ACL in 2021, the 28-year-old hasn’t been as dangerous as he was in the past. With the former Indiana State star set to be a free agent next offseason, and the team having serious salary cap constraints, it’s unlikely that the team will be able to bring him back.

The Packers could also be losing one of the biggest presences in the locker room in Marcedes Lewis. The veteran tight end, who will also be a UFA in 2023, is 38 years old and is a likely candidate to retire this offseason.

That leaves the Packers with only Josiah Deguara under contract at the tight end position in 2023. While a reliable and effective blocker in the running game, Deguara has rarely been a factor in the passing game. Taking a player like Mayer would give the Packers that much-needed pass-catching weapon at the position.

How Good is Michael Mayer?

Drafting a tight end in the first round isn’t always the wisest option, but for a prospect like Michael Mayer, it might be worth it.

Mayer announced on Wednesday, December 7 that he’d be declaring for the 2023 NFL draft and opting out of the team’s Gator Bowl appearance. Despite skipping his last game as a junior and foregoing his entire senior year, the junior already holds the schools records for a tight end with 180 catches, 2,099 yards, and 18 touchdowns.

At 6’4″ and 265 pounds, Mayer has a rare ability to create separation off of his release with excellent movement skills for a tight end in the slot. At the same time, he has the size, strength, and willingness to be an effective blocker in the run game.

Mayer’s versatile skill set, size, athleticism, and production at a major FBS program all factor into why he will almost certainly be a first-round pick in April.

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