Michael Mayer Is A Darkhorse Candidate For Offensive Rookie Of The Year — Raiders Blog

Raiders TE Michael Mayer Is Dark Horse Candidate For Offensive Rookie of the Year

The Las Vegas Raiders have had their fair share of standout rookies in recent years. Players like Amari Cooper and Josh Jacobs made significant impacts while on rookie deals. However, it’s been a while since the Raiders have seen a first-year player make it to the Pro Bowl. Could this year be different? Could Michael Mayer, the Raiders’ second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, be the dark horse for Offensive Rookie of the Year?

A Surprising Name On The List

In a recent article by Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report, Mayer received praise. He was named one of the rookies with a chance to make a Pro Bowl appearance in their debut campaign. This selection may surprise some, considering that rookie tight ends typically take time to adjust to the speed and complexity of the NFL. However, Mayer’s exceptional talent and experience at Notre Dame sets him apart from the pack.

Mayer’s college career at Notre Dame speaks for itself. The prototypical tight end showcased his versatility as a pass-catcher and blocker. In his final season with the Fighting Irish, Mayer led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions. He set school records for a tight end in all categories. His ability to make plays in the passing game while being a reliable blocker makes him an immediate asset for the Raiders’ offense.

The decision to draft Mayer was partly due to his talent and also the team’s need for a playmaking tight end. The departure of former Pro Bowler Darren Waller and veteran Foster Moreau in free agency created a void at the position. In contrast, the Raiders signed veteran Austin Hooper, and Mayer has the potential to make an immediate impact in the passing game.

Michael Mayer Is A Perfect Fit For The Raiders Roster

Head coach Josh McDaniels’ offense has always preferred to utilize playmaking tight ends. Mayer’s skill set aligns perfectly with what McDaniels looks for at the position. With his size, speed, and route-running ability, the 249-pound brick house will be a reliable target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. His short-area quickness and red-zone prowess make him a valuable weapon in critical situations.

Superstar tight end George Kittle spent multiple seasons with Jimmy G under center in San Francisco. In turn, he posted stellar production and became a household name. Kittle caught 243 passes for 3,126 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in 51 games with the Raiders’ new signal-caller Garoppolo. Mayer plays a hybrid style with comparable size and speed to Kittle but with much more refined technical skills as a rookie. This level of output and connection is promising and should serve Mayer well in his inaugural season.

The AFC West is known for its solid tight ends. Players like Travis Kelce, Gerald Everett, and Greg Dulcich have made significant impacts in recent years. To compete in the division, the Raiders need a solid presence of their own at the position. Mayer has the chops to fill that role and become a key contributor to the offense in Year 1.

The Challenge Of Winning Rookie Of The Year As A Tight End

Despite Mayer’s potential, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award as a tight end is no easy feat. In the history of the prize, no tight end has ever won it. However, Mayer’s unique combination of skills and the Raiders’ offensive scheme could give him a fighting chance. He will have to compete with other talented rookies, but his ability to contribute as both a pass-catcher and blocker sets him apart.

Oddsmakers may not give Mayer much of a chance to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award, but that shouldn’t deter him. He is ready to prove himself on the field and make an immediate impact for the Raiders. According to DraftKings, the Notre Dame alum is the 25th-ranked rookie with +7500 odds. He sits below Dalton Kincaid and Sam LaPorta on the pecking order. Mayer’s long odds only further motivate him to exceed expectations.

Mayer Is Embracing The Challenges Ahead With The Raiders

Mayer understands the challenges ahead of him as a rookie tight end in the NFL. He knows he needs to continue working on his blocking skills while improving his route running and understanding of the game. The budding star is eager to learn from veterans like Hooper and Garoppolo, who have a wealth of experience in the league. He recognizes that his success will come from embracing the challenges.

The Future Looks Bright For Mayer In Vegas

The road to Offensive Rookie of the Year won’t be easy. But Mayer’s potential — and the Raiders’ offensive scheme — make him an intriguing dark horse candidate. If he can make the most of his opportunities and showcase his versatility, there’s no doubt he will become a key contributor for Vegas as a rookie.

*Top Photo: Michael Owens/Getty Images

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