The Las Vegas Raiders tapped the luck of the Irish by selecting Notre Dame star tight end Michael Mayer at No. 35 overall.
Holding the No. 38 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, it was anybody's guess as to what the Las Vegas Raiders planned to do with it. On Day 1 of the Draft, the Silver and Black added an elite defensive talent in Tyree Wilson, bringing in the punishing edge rusher from Texas Tech.
Though Wilson did not necessarily fill one of the bigger needs on the roster, he was one of the best players available, and general manager Dave Ziegler needed to take that approach as he revamps this roster. Heading into Day 2, the Raiders wasted no time in moving up for their second pick, trading with the Atlanta Falcons for pick No. 35, and selecting Michael Mayer from Notre Dame.
Unlike Wilson, Mayer filled an immediate void for the Raiders, as the team traded away TE1 Darren Waller to the New York Giants in the offseason. In Mayer, they get a Day 1 starter, and someone who has the size, speed, catching ability, and blocking acumen to be a real threat in Josh McDaniels's offense as a rookie.
Over at ESPN, Jordan Reed and Matt Miller put out their favorite selections from each round, and needless to say, Mayer got the nod for the second round
"A legitimate top-20 prospect, Mayer will be a Day 1 starter in Las Vegas."- Jordan Reed, Matt Miller: ESPN
Reed and Miller are absolutely right, as Mayer should have been a top-15 pick, and falling to Day 2 was a shocking development. McDaniels's offense is based around a strong run game, and quality tight end play, so if the Raiders can bring back Josh Jacobs, they should be strong on that
There is still work to do with the roster after the 2023 NFL Draft, though Ziegler and his staff added some potential roster guys via as UDFAs since the draft wrapped up on Saturday. Mayer was named our 2023 draft pick we expect to make the biggest impact in Year 1, and apparently, ESPN could not agree more.