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The 2023 NFL Draft is fast approaching, and speculation is heating up about which players will go where. The Detroit Lions, who hold the No. 6 and No. 18 overall picks in the opening round, are in a good position to add some serious talent to their roster. However, the Lions have a history of taking tight ends in the first round that haven't panned out. With that being said, Bleacher Report has recently listed Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer as an ideal fit for the Lions.
Why it Matters for the Detroit Lions
The Lions have taken tight ends in the first round of the draft twice in the past 10 years, with mixed results. In 2014, they selected Eric Ebron with the No. 10 overall pick, but he never lived up to expectations in Detroit. In 2019, they selected T.J. Hockenson with the No. 8 overall pick, and while he has shown flashes of greatness, the Lions traded him during the 2022 season.
With Hockenson gone, the Lions have a need at tight end, and most believe they will either sign a free agent or select a tight end at some point in the 2023 NFL Draft. That's where Michael Mayer comes in. The 6'4″, 249-pound tight end out of Notre Dame is widely regarded as one of the top tight end prospects in the draft and will almost certainly get selected in the first round.
Who is Michael Mayer?
Mayer is an excellent athlete with great hands and the ability to create separation from defenders. He's also a solid blocker, making him a valuable asset in both the passing and running games. Bleacher Report believes that Mayer is a “logical fit” for the Lions' offense and could give the team the kind of impact player they've been missing at the tight end position.
“Mayer would also be a logical fit with the Lions. After trading away T.J. Hockenson, they could use an elite tight end playing on a rookie contract. Meanwhile, the Bucs saw just how hard it was to replace Rob Gronkowski last season. Mayer could help them transition into the post-Tom Brady era.”
While the Lions have had a rocky history with taking tight ends in the first round, Michael Mayer could be the exception. With the No. 6 and No. 18 picks in the first round, the Lions have the opportunity to add some serious talent to their roster. Adding Mayer would add to what is already a Top 5 offense, and it will be interesting to see if the Lions consider him with the No. 6 or 18 pick.
Bottom Line for Detroit Lions
When it comes down to it, I would be pretty surprised if the Lions' GM Brad Holmes selects Mayer in the first round. Though he has a chance to be a very good NFL player, I just cannot see the Lions picking him, considering the other needs they have. That being said, if Mayer is still available when the Lions are on the clock at No. 18, and Holmes decides to go with the best player available, the Notre Dame prospect could be headed to the Motor City. My hope is that Holmes decides to go in another direction.