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2023 NFL Mock Draft: Cincinnati Bengals take tight end

With the 28th overall pick in the 2023 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Cincinnati Bengals GM mainmanham selects ...

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Boston College v Notre Dame Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

I think Mike Brown may have a heart attack (but, like, a good one) if Michael Mayer falls to the Bengals at 28. While I’m sure you all want to see some spider charts and highlight videos, I think I have to start with why Mayer to Cincinnati makes for such a compelling storyline.

The emotional component

Having lived in Cincinnati for about five years, I can confirm that Bengals fans are a passionate, often tortured, fanbase. I happened to be in the city when Andy Dalton was a potential MVP candidate and remained there until resident golden boy Joe Burrow was playing well (but getting destroyed on a weekly basis). In my experience, I have learned that Cincinnatians are guaranteed to love four things: Skyline Chili, Fiona the hippo, fighting about where you went to high school, and red zone threat tight ends that went to Notre Dame (when they aren’t getting injured over and over again).

Mayer not only went to Notre Dame but also Covington Catholic High School (<5 miles from Paul Brown Stadium) and has stated in interviews that the Bengals are his favorite team. It also helps that there seems to be mutual interest from the Bengals side as well (as they will have met with Mayer prior to this post according to Cincy Jungle).

What also helps Mayer’s case is that he’s arguably the best tight end prospect in this class and would mesh very well with the Bengals offense.

The analytical component

Mayer’s college stats (according to Sports Reference):

Mayer’s spider chart (per MockDraftable):

Highlights:

Also, in case you needed other opinions from individuals far more intelligent than I, here’s several other opinions starting with Lance Zierlein’s assessment on NFL.com:

Big combination tight end with the demeanor for run blocking and the size for tough, chain-moving catches underneath. Mayer will come into the league with better blocking technique than most tight ends in this year’s draft. He’s built for in-line duty and was an extension of the Notre Dame offensive line at times. His feet are a little heavy getting into and through his routes, but he has the hand strength and contact balance to win heavily contested catches on the first two levels. Mayer might need to polish his route running to become a high-volume target, but he’s a safe pick and will be a good pro who can become a plus player as a run blocker and pass catcher.

#21 for Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com)

#14 for Danny Kelly (The Ringer)

#19 for Dane Brugler (The Athletic $$$)

Wrapping up

Now you may be saying, taking a TE in round 1 isn’t worth it (pretty much all the best ones have gone in round 2+) and you’re probably right. However, we’re talking about the Bengals here and I’m fairly certain everyone in the city wanted Penei Sewell over Ja’Marr Chase as well (and that seems to have worked out pretty well for them so far). Plus, while I think Irv Smith Jr. could be decent, I don’t think he has the long term upside like Mayer (both The Athletic ($$$) and Sharp Football Analysis still list tight end as a top position of need for the Bengals this year after this addition).

I think Mayer is perfect for Cincinnati in so many ways: he’s a promising young tight end prospect that is great at blocking, getting open in the short to intermediate areas of the field, and is sure to be Burrow’s best friend within moments of getting selected. I guarantee they’ll have tons of fun hitting up OTR Live at 2am (especially considering Burrow’s love for ‘Nati’s nightlife). Mayer will likely be long gone at this point in the draft but if he’s there I think the Bengals would have a hard time passing on him.

Poll

Do you approve of this pick?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Yes
    (90 votes)
  • 13%
    No
    (14 votes)
104 votes total Vote Now

2023 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Panthers (pheebthegoose): QB Bryce Young
2) Texans (Phoenix X Minimus): QB C.J. Stroud
3) Cardinals (alwaysaphillyfan): EDGE Will Anderson
4) Colts (eaglenomics): QB Anthony Richardson
5) Seahawks (The Player Formerly Known as Mousecop): DT Jalen Carter
6) Lions (Sam2TheMaximum): DE Tyree Wilson
7) Raiders (joey2arms): OT Paris Johnson Jr.
8) Falcons (Kephas): CB Christian Gonzalez
9) Bears (chewy wellington): OT Peter Skoronski
10) Eagles (Philly21): CB Devon Witherspoon
11) Titans (RachAttack): WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
12) Texans (Domonate): WR Quentin Johnston
13) Jets (JawnJam): OT Broderick Jones
14) Patriots (Amish Eagle Lion): CB Joey Porter Jr.
15) Packers (bdawk4ever): QB Will Levis
16) Commanders (the dog did it): OT Darnell Wright
17) Steelers (Dr.MidnightGreen): CB Deonte Banks
18) Lions (DreadPirateRocco): DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
19) Buccaneers (Neil Dutton): DT Calijah Kancey
20) Seahawks (wardbell92): DE Myles Murphy
21) Chargers (Brendanekstrom): TE Dalton Kincaid
22) Ravens (Rollinpin): RB Bijan Robinson
23) Vikings (FierceDisc65): DE Lukas Van Ness
24) Jaguars (Leo Bedio): DB Brian Branch
25) Giants (dkays): WR Jordan Addison
26) Cowboys (w.connell4): LB Drew Sanders
27) Bills (EHyungNim): LB Jack Campbell
28) Bengals (mainmanham): TE Michael Mayer
29) Saints (RiverCityEagle)
30) Eagles (ablesser88)
31) Chiefs (Hoosinole)


Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected in the 2023 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.

Poll

Who should the Bengals pick at No. 28?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    TE Dalton Kincaid
    (22 votes)
  • 14%
    TE Darnell Washington
    (8 votes)
  • 17%
    OG O’Cyrus Torrence
    (10 votes)
  • 8%
    OT Anton Harrison
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    OT Dawand Jones
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    DT Adetomiwa Adebawore
    (3 votes)
  • 8%
    CB Emmanuel Forbes
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    CB Cam Smith
    (2 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

1) Panthers: QB C.J. Stroud
2) Texans: QB Bryce Young
3) Cardinals: EDGE Will Anderson
4) Colts: QB Anthony Richardson
5) Seahawks: DT Jalen Carter
6) Lions: DE Tyree Wilson
7) Raiders: OT Paris Johnson Jr.
8) Falcons: CB Christian Gonzalez
9) Bears: OT Peter Skoronski
10) Eagles: CB Devon Witherspoon
11) Titans: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
12) Texans: DE Myles Murphy
13) Jets: OT Broderick Jones
14) Patriots: CB Joey Porter Jr.
15) Packers: DE Nolan Smith
16) Commanders: OT Darnell Wright
17) Steelers: CB Deonte Banks
18) Lions: DT Calijah Kancey
19) Buccaneers: QB Will Levis
20) Seahawks: DE Lukas Van Ness
21) Chargers: RB Bijan Robinson
22) Ravens: WR Quentin Johnston
23) Vikings: QB Hendon Hooker
24) Jaguars: DB Brian Branch
25) Giants: WR Jordan Addison
26) Cowboys: TE Michael Mayer
27) Bills: LB Jack Campbell
28) Bengals:

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