1. Michael Mayer, Tight End, Notre Dame
Selected by: Joe Marino of The Draft Network
The Bengals have been continuously linked with a certain Rob Gronkowski over the offseason. Ever since the veteran tight end made complimentary comments about Joe Burrow, coupled with the obvious need at the position, Gronk and the Bengals developed a small amount of buzz.
The chance of it happening, however, remains incredibly low. Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer could offer a similar style of player in next year’s draft. He has been tagged with the moniker ‘Baby Gronk’ throughout his career and it’s clear to see why.
Mayer was Jack Coan’s favorite target, with 71 receptions in 2021. He was second only behind deep threat Kevin Austin in receiving yards, with 840 and 7 touchdowns. Measuring in at 6’5″ and 251 pounds, Mayer is one of the most complete tight end prospects in recent years. A dynamic threat as a receiver as well as a tough blocker, he has top-20 pick written all over him.
This is the pick that makes the most sense for the Bengals considering their current roster. Hayden Hurst will shoulder most of the burden this year, but it is a one-year deal for a player a couple of years removed from high-end production. Drew Sample has underwhelmed and the Bengals could choose to cut him loose.
If the Bengals have another successful year they are unlikely to be in range to snag Mayer. However, should they get the chance he would add another layer to one of the most complete pass-catching groups in the NFL. The thought of Chase, Higgins, Boyd, and Mayer, even if only for one year, is mouth-watering.
Would you want to see any of these prospects with Cincinnati next year?