Why Steelers should make Michael Mayer their number one selection in 2023
Every year when the NFL Draft rolls around Steelers fans or analysts always weigh in, giving their opinions as to which players the Steelers should select. 2023 is no different. There are many players in this year's draft, and there is no shortage of opinions on which players would be the best to draft.
Some fans like the cornerbacks like Joey Porter or Deonte Banks, while others think an offensive tackle makes the best sense, either Paris Johnson or Peter Skoronski. Perhaps you would like to see them take an edge rusher like Will Anderson or Myles Murphy or a linebacker like Jack Campbell or Trenton Simpson. Regardless, no matter whose name gets thrown out, someone will think their idea is better; perhaps they are right or wrong. In the end, the only decision that counts is the one made by Mike Tomlin and Omar Kahn.
While it is true that a cornerback or offensive lineman would be most beneficial. Sometimes though, teams must take the best player available approach, in that one particular player may be so good and could bring a lot to the team despite not playing a specific position in which they need the most critical help. A lot like what Chuck Noll did with the Steelers between 1969-1974.
In 2023 there is one player in particular who, in light of the Steelers needs, wouldn’t make the most sense but would have the potential to be one of the best players in the NFL. That would be Notre Dame’s tight end, Michael Mayer.
Why the Steelers should draft Michel Mayer
Tight ends in the NFL can be a premium at times. Most are interchangeable from one team to the next, and there are generally only 3-4 that rise above all other tight ends. For the Chiefs, that would be Travis Kelce. No one would disagree that he is one of the most devastating tight ends to ever play the game and will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Now for those of you scratching your head and saying well, Pat Freiermuth is also a good tight end too. Yes, you are right. There is no doubt that when Kenny Pickett needed a target late in games, he could rely on Pat Freiermuth to get a first down. However, add another premium receiver into the mix; possibly, first downs could have become touchdowns.
When you have a developing quarterback, you want to give him weapons he can utilize. Sure, he needs protection too. However, one could argue the Steelers may have done that through free agency. The credibility of the argument is another issue. Arguably it’s not a great wide receiver class in terms of first-round talent. Plus, historically, the Steelers have never had amazing success taking a wide receiver in the first or second round.
Nevertheless, a tight-end position is different. The Steelers had a lot of success with a former tight end they drafted in the first round, Heath Miller. Michael Mayer should be every bit as good as Miller, if not better. If the Steelers ran a double tight end set with Mayer and Freiermuth, it’s hard to fathom one of the two not being open for a pass, especially when you have Dionte Johnson and George Pickens running routes as well. Someone will be open. How could any Steelers fan not want to see that?
One additional thing to consider is that Freiermuth was drafted in the 2nd round and does not have the 5th-year option; Mayer would. Thus in two seasons, when Freiermuth’s contract is up should he choose to sign elsewhere, you would have Mayer for three additional seasons, assuming the 5th -year option is exercised.
It would be exciting to see the Steelers draft someone as talented as Mayer. Realistically, it’s improbable that would ever happen. Some fans rarely get the feeling of vindication when their team drafts the player they want to see drafted, and that vindication will not occur here. Nonetheless, it’s fun to look at the possibilities of how good the Steelers could be offensively if they drafted him, whether you agree or not.
The Steelers may not take Mayer and perhaps that’s unfortunate; however, that is what dynasty fantasy football is for. At least I can draft Mayer in the first round for my Steelers-themed dynasty team Frenchy’s Foreign Legion, and give Kenny Pickett all the tight-end help he needs!