Tight end Evan Engram has been a revelation for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season but he’s set to become a free agent next offseason. Knowing the Jags might have a hard time bringing him back, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports has them taking Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer in his latest first-round 2023 NFL mock draft.
Trapasso doesn’t go into detail but argues that Mayer would give the Jags a “savvy, decently athletic, ultra-reliable tight end in Mayer“. All things considered, those are the traits every NFL team is looking for in a good tight end.
The Notre Dame product is the second of three tight ends chosen in Trapasso’s mock. The New England Patriots chose Georgia’s Darnell Washington at No. 10 while the Los Angeles Chargers pick Cade Stover with the 24th overall selection.
Mayer will be one of the top tight prospects in next year’s draft. Last season, he set the Notre Dame record for the most catches in a game by a tight end and the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end (840). At 6’4”, 265 pounds, and a potential 4.7-second 40-yard dash in the 2023 scouting combine, the Fighting Irish would be the ideal replacement for Engram on the Jaguars’ offense.
Other noteworthy picks in Trapasso’s mock draft are Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud going to the Houston Texans at No. 1, Kentucky’s Will Levis at No. 2, and the Seattle Seahawks selecting Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the third overall pick.
The Jaguars will probably give their tight end room a makeover in 2023
Engram isn’t the only Jaguars tight end that is scheduled to leave next year. Both Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz are also slated to hit the open market. Re-signing either one shouldn’t be cost-prohibitive. However, Engram is a whole different deal.
Even if the former New York Giant doesn’t command top-market money, he won’t be cheap either. In four games, he’s become a key cog in the Jags’ offense, hauling in 13 receptions for 99 yards. While those numbers don’t stand out, he’s got a shot at breaking the career-high he set as a rookie of 64.
The Jaguars are currently around $400,000 in the red and have many important contract decisions to make, which would make it difficult to give Engram a new deal. They could always use the franchise tag but it would limit their ability to get other deals done. Another alternative is to give him a big signing bonus and spread the cap hit over several years but the bill would come due at some point.
It took the Jaguars several years to bring some stability to the tight end position but knowing they might not be able to retain Engram, Michael Mayer could be a worthy replacement.