Las Vegas Raiders rookie tight end Michael Mayer is beginning to come on down the stretch of this season. After hauling in just one catch in the first four games of the season, Mayer has multiple receptions in each of the last four contests for the Silver and Black, and interim head coach Antonio Pierce is taking notice.
As the weeks have gone on, Mayer is beginning to show more glimpses of the player he was in college where he was a consensus All-American and, in the eyes of many, the top tight end prospect in last year’s draft. But the Raiders rookie didn’t look anything like that when training camp first began.
Pierce recently spoke about this, admitting that Mayer got humbled during training camp, but has now turned the corner and he believes the Raiders rookie is rising above that rookie wall that many players hit during this time, via Austin Boyd of Heavy.com:
“Let’s be honest, he got baptized in training camp,” Pierce said during his December 6 media availability. “He was probably embarrassed. Humble pie. But now he’s dishing it out too. You can see the confidence. You see ‘Big Mike’ walking around with his shoulders out, has a little swag to him. It’s good to see. Sometimes you see rookies hit that rookie wall late in the season. He’s doing (the) opposite. He’s rising.”
This is exactly what a team hopes to see from their rookies. Everyone can’t just hit the ground running and dominate from the start. Some go through adversity at the outset of their NFL career and that was the case for Mayer with the Raiders.
Mayer himself has admitted that he struggled in camp and his confidence was a bit down, but he worked hard to turn it around and is now looking like a building block for this Raiders franchise. Mayer is a true tight end who not only excels as a receiver but can hold his own in the blocking game as well and gives the Raiders offense yet another weapon alongside Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Jakobi Meyers.
It is apparent to Pierce, the Raiders coaches and Mayer’s teammates that he has the ability to be a special player and he is showing that over the last few weeks. If he continues to develop and grow it will set an excellent foundation for him to build on next season as well.