Cowboys Predicted to Land Star Playmaker as New Starter

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Dallas Cowboys season ended in disappointment.

With Dalton Schultz departing in free agency, the Dallas Cowboys are likely in the market to add another tight end making former Notre Dame star Michael Mayer a tempting selection at No. 26. ESPN’s Matt Bowen labeled Mayer as the best fit for Dallas with the No. 26 pick.

“Drafting Mayer would fill a need on the Dallas roster with veteran Dalton Schultz leaving for the Texans in free agency,” Bowen wrote on April 6, 2023. “Mayer also fits in Mike McCarthy’s offense as a tight end with the receiving and blocking traits to impact the game plan. McCarthy could scheme Mayer for quarterback Dak Prescott on play-action and boot, with Mayer running unders and crossers.

“In short, the Cowboys could utilize the tight end on the classic pro route tree, which caters to Mayer’s game based on his college tape. Think middle-of-the-field quick seams, sticks and sit routes. That’s where Mayer — who finished third among FBS tight ends last season with 809 yards — can use his strong frame in the high traffic areas to move the chains for Prescott and the Dallas offense.”

Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer Had Back-to-Back Seasons With More Than 800 Receiving Yards & 7 TDs

A strong case can be made for Mayer to be the first tight end selected in the upcoming draft after the former Irish playmaker posted back-to-back seasons topping 800 yards and seven touchdowns. Mayer notched 67 receptions for 809 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 appearances last season.

It remains to be seen whether Mayer will be a serious consideration for Dallas if he is still on the board at No. 26. As things stand now, Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot would be among the current Cowboys fighting for the starting tight end spot. It would be a surprise if Dallas did not select a tight end at some point during the draft, even if the team passes on the position in the first round.

Michael Mayer Is Drawing Comparisons to Cowboys Legend Jason Witten

The 6’4″ and 249-pound tight end is drawing lofty comparisons heading into the draft.’s Lance Zierlein sees shades of Cowboys legend Jason Witten in Mayer’s game.

“Big combination tight end with the demeanor for run blocking and the size for tough, chain-moving catches underneath,” Zierlein detailed in his pre-draft profile. “Mayer will come into the league with better blocking technique than most tight ends in this year’s draft. He’s built for in-line duty and was an extension of the Notre Dame offensive line at times.

“His feet are a little heavy getting into and through his routes, but he has the hand strength and contact balance to win heavily contested catches on the first two levels. Mayer might need to polish his route running to become a high-volume target, but he’s a safe pick and will be a good pro who can become a plus player as a run blocker and pass catcher.”

There are other tight end options the Cowboys could consider outside of Mayer including Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave, Georgia’s Darnell Washington, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, South Dakota State’s Tucker Kraft and Iowa’s Sam LaPorta. Tight end is one of the strongest positions of the 2023 draft class, and Dallas will have plenty of options that could entice them to take a playmaker