Raiders rookie tight end Michael Mayer

Raiders TE Michael Mayer Stock Watch (Preseason Week 2): A Solid NFL Debut

The Las Vegas Raiders won their second preseason contest on Saturday, routing the Los Angeles Rams 34-17. A strong start from the first-string unit, who played early on, set the tone from the game’s initial drive onward. One such player that saw playing time was Michael Mayer.

The rookie out of Notre Dame earned his first NFL start, notching one catch on two targets for three yards. Mayer didn’t spend too much time on the field, but it was enough to see flashes of both good and bad. Here’s what’s what.

Michael Mayer sees first action in Raiders uniform

The Good

The fact that Mayer earned the start is definitely a good sign. While he did end up splitting snaps with Austin Hooper, the rookie did get some usage on the opening drive. He caught a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo on a crossing route for a three-yard gain. Mayer only got targeted one more time; that pass never even got to him as it was taken the other way by Rams linebacker Jake Hummel. There wasn’t much else to see from Mayer in the passing game, but he did demonstrate some decent blocking. Overall, he looked like a competent NFL tight end.

The Bad

There wasn’t much to dislike about Mayer’s performance. If we wanted to nitpick, he could have demonstrated more strength at times. On his lone reception, the Raiders rookie caught the ball a yard short of the first-down marker and was tackled immediately to bring up third down. It would have been nice to see him fight to get that last yard.

Also, there were a couple of blocks where he seemed to get pushed around a bit. These things are normal for any rookie. It usually takes guys a year or two to develop that NFL strength. The only other “negative” about Mayer’s performance was that it would have been nice to see him get more reps, but that isn’t his fault.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, there was not a whole lot to take away from this outing. It was a preseason game in which Mayer played somewhat sparingly against mostly backups. That being said, he looked solid. In a small sample size, that is all you can really ask for.

The one thing that was intriguing was the fact that he started, and then seemed to alternate with Hooper. There might be a real competition as to who’s the Raiders’ top tight end. It was initially thought that Hooper would start the season as the guy, but eventually give way to Mayer. That may be happening sooner than we thought. Hopefully, we will get some more hints in the Raiders’ preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

*Top Photo: Louis Lopez/Cal Sport Media

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