Michael Mayer a Better Fit Than Darren Waller? Plus the Notre Dame Product Receives Praise

Michael Mayer will be asked to fill big shoes in his rookie season with the Las Vegas Raiders. The Notre Dame product has to help replace the production left behind by Darren Waller at the tight end position. While it remains to be seen whether Mayer will have a standout rookie year, one NFL pundit believes he’ll be a better fit in head coach Josh McDaniels’ system.

Furthermore, the 22-year-old works behind the scenes to ensure a successful first year. Even though that doesn’t guarantee success, it does show Mayer will be prepared. Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi is convinced that when the Raiders need Mayer, he’ll answer the call.

As Las Vegas heads into another week of training camp, let’s look at the news surrounding the Raiders rookie.

Is Michael Mayer a better fit than Darren Waller?

Despite Waller signing an extension, the Raiders decided to move on from the veteran. The Silver and Black sent Waller to the New York Giants; afterward, the franchise drafted his replacement, Mayer. Las Vegas traded the No. 38 pick and the 141st pick in exchange for the No. 35 selection. The Raiders selected Mayer, whom they see as the long-term replacement, at a less expensive price for now.

Although Waller is still in his prime, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah believes the rookie tight end will better fit McDaniels’ offense. Jeremiah’s belief aligns with what ESPN’s Mina Kimes noted recently about the Raiders’ quarterback situation.

Kimes believes Derek Carr is a better talent, but Jimmy Garoppolo is a better fit systematically. As a result, the franchise appears to be willing to move on from more talented players to bring in those that fit what McDaniels wants in his schemes.

“The one guy I’m looking forward to seeing as we go through the preseason with him is Michael Mayer from Notre Dame, who was a complete tight end,” Jeremiah said. “I thought it was great value where they got him there in the second round. We all expected him to go in round No. 1. [He’s] not a blazing-fast player; that’s not his game.

He understands space. He understands how to position things that I think a Josh McDaniels offense will really be able to exploit. You lose the athleticism with Darren Waller. You’re not going to be able to replace that. But I think they’re going to get a more complete player type of a player that fits better with what they want to do.”

Will the Raiders ease their rookie into the No. 1 role?

The Raiders will likely slowly integrate Mayer into the offense, which is why Las Vegas signed veteran Austin Hooper. However, at some point, McDaniels and Co. will want Mayer to take the reins and be the No. 1 target.

Along with Hooper, Las Vegas has several threats, like Davante Adams at the receiver position. Mayer won’t replace Waller immediately, but if he can make plays in the passing or running game when asked, it’s a confidence booster for the rookie.

So, what do you say, Raiders fans? Do you believe in Jeremiah’s statement about why Mayer is a better fit than Waller?

Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi has high praise for Michael Mayer

While there are many expectations for Mayer, he’s still a rookie and needs to adjust to life as an NFL professional. The tight end has to work behind the scenes to show the coaching staff he’s serious about his craft. Although being a pass catcher is essential, he must also be a solid run blocker.

Lombardi praised the work he’s seeing from the crop of rookies on offense, including Mayer. The coaching staff wants to see the young talent continue to grow and eventually reach their potential.

“It’s tough as a rookie, and I think those guys have done a good job of coming in here and just taking the coaching, especially the young linemen as well,” Lombardi told reporters Monday. “And they really were working hard to kind of, I would say, just grow. And you hope to see that in practice with a young player, and I think you see that kind of expand throughout them, and it’s very, very fun to see with any young player at any position.”

The pass-catcher is likely to show his potential at times during this upcoming season. Still, there will be times when many see that he’s still a rookie. Nonetheless, Mayer’s development will be a storyline for fans to follow to see if he displays signs of being Waller’s heir apparent.

*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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