Michael Mayer was a big part of the Las Vegas Raiders offensive success later in the season and before his injury, he produced some key catches to keep drives alive. While he wasn't as flashy as Travis Kelce or the former Jimmy Graham, Mayer held his own and helped the Raiders win games as a rookie in 2023.
The former Notre Dame tight end came to Las Vegas ready to produce and for the majority of the season, he did. In 2023, Mayer caught 27 passes for just over 300 yards and two touchdowns, as he shook off a slow start to the season to become a real threat for the Raiders offense.
Mayer improved in run blocking and helped in pass blocking when he was asked, and did quite well. The first-year tight end set an edge and in an otherwise down year for the Raiders, he helped the team win down the stretch to have a chance for the playoffs.
The rookie also played with two different quarterbacks and also played under two different head coaches after the unceremonious firing of Josh McDaniels. In 2024, the hope is for more stability at both positions, as Mayer becomes a more effective pass catcher, and blocker.
The Las Vegas tight end room didn't have a lot of competition as he only had to beat out O.J Howard and Austin Hooper for the starting role, but the Raiders offensive game plan gave receivers more attention, as Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers were the key targets in the offense. After a toe injury in Week 17, the team put him on IR to open a roster spot up as they were making a push for the Playoffs.
Raiders should have high expectations for Mayer in Year 2
Mayer's rookie season ended on IR, but his sophmore season could see a resurgence in his skill set as he is the clear starter for this team moving forward. In Year 2, I expect him to have five touchdowns and around 50 receptions along with 500 receiving yards.
I also can see head coach Antonio Pierce going in a power run direction that a team like the Colts run and ask their tight ends to block in the running game. Mayer has the skill set to be a real threat for the Raiders for the foreseeable future.