Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Changing places edition

(Michael Caterina/Notre Dame Insider via IMAGN Content Services) Michael Mayer
(Michael Caterina/Notre Dame Insider via IMAGN Content Services) Michael Mayer /
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Carolina Panthers
(Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports) Michael Mayer /

Carolina Panthers draft Michael Mayer

  • Tight End | Notre Dame

Ian Thomas is evolving into one of the league’s best blocking tight ends. While this has been a great help to the Carolina Panthers in recent weeks, it does not detract from the real need to find a prolific pass-catcher at the position in 2023.

This is something the Panthers haven’t had since Greg Olsen was on the team. Fortunately for those in power, this is a deep class of tight ends entering the NFL next year and Michael Mayer is atop the heap.

Mayer is an unbelievable athlete that can do it all. His pass protection is outstanding, which is matched by slick routes and soft hands that make him almost unguardable when in the mood.

The Notre Dame prospect doesn’t have what one would class as elite speed. But he does all the little things well and looks like a Day 1 contributor with Pro Bowl potential with a smooth adjustment to the professional ranks.

Pairing Mayer and Thomas would be ideal. This bears more significance if interim head coach Steve Wilks gets the job long-term and continues with his run-first attack.

The need for a quarterback is still there, but reaching would be a risk and Mayer is among the surest things in the 2023 draft based on his production with the Fighting Irish.