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Chargers draft Notre Dame TE in new post-combine mock

Mayer’s pro comparison has often been former Cowboys standout Jason Witten.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 26 Notre Dame at USC Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Combine has finally come to a close and the only standing between us and the NFL Draft is the rash of pro days expected to take place between now and opening night on April 27th.

With all the jumps, runs, and presses now done, NFL draft analysts can begin to put even more polish on their mock drafts now that they know who checked their boxes and who didn’t at the combine.

In the latest mock draft from Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports, he has the Chargers taking a player who actually do much “wowing” this weekend. With the 21st pick, the Wilson has the Chargers investing in a long-term starter at tight end with Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer.

Here’s what he had to say about the selection:

“Michael Mayer told us at the combine that he loves the way Travis Kelce plays the position, and while he may not be quite that athletic, Mayer is already a better blocker. He’s also a legit downfield threat who it’s easy to imagine quickly becoming one of Justin Herbert’s favorite targets.”

At just under 6’5 and 250 pounds, Mayer is built like a prototypical TE1 for today’s NFL. With sure hands and the ability to be a difference-maker in the run game, the only thing missing from Mayer’s tool kit as a player is the ideal athleticism. The stocky pass-catcher managed just a 4.70 in the forty and followed that with some middling explosion numbers. Mayer’s broad came in at 9’10” (10th best among tight ends) and the vertical measured in at just 32.5” (third worst).

However, despite the lackluster numbers from this weekend, Mayer was very productive in his three seasons with the Irish. After posting 450 yards and two scores as a freshman, he broke out for back-to-back seasons with 800+ receiving yards and tallied 16 touchdowns over his final two seasons.

Similar to his NFL comp in Cowboys legend Jason Witten, Mayer knows how to run a route and get open for his quarterback. His speed is also a bit deceptive. Mayer has enough wiggle to get downfield and make the tough catch when it matters most.

If Mayer ends up being the choice at No. 21, the need for speed will remain. Luckily, there’s some burners in this draft class that can be had in the middle rounds. but that ultimately means other needs like edge rusher, linebacker, and offensive line could be pushed down. However, we have yet to find out the free agent plan, which obviously will play a huge role in shaping the draft picture for the Chargers.