Rookie tight end Michael Mayer is set to be one of the key pieces to this Las Vegas Raiders offense. A second-round pick whom many considered the best tight end in the draft, Mayer has been so impressive early on that the team has already parted ways with veteran O.J. Howard whom the Raiders signed earlier this offseason.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty of learning for Mayer to do and he got a first-hand lesson thanks to star defensive end Maxx Crosby as the Raiders put on pads for the first time. One of the things that makes Mayer stand out is his ability to block as well as receive, and that was put to the test in some one-on-one matchups with the Raiders’ Pro Bowl defender.
According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mayer was tossed around numerous times during some scrimmage matchups with Crosby, and the two being paired together didn’t seem to be an accident:
Mayer, a second-round pick from Notre Dame, got thrown around and knocked down by Maxx Crosby in multiple one-on-one scrimmage battles that appeared decidedly more designed than coincidental.
The best way to get better is to face off with the best. Iron sharpens iron and facing off with one of the best in the league like Crosby will make Mayer much better in the long run. The rookie has a ton of potential, and these kinds of things will expedite his growth.
And despite coming up on the short end much of the time, Mayer didn’t back down, getting right back up after every time he was thrown during a practice that seemed intentionally physical overall:
It was all part of a day that felt suspiciously intentional for its physicality and edge. In fact, it almost felt as if the Raiders were using the occasion to set a teamwide tone.
To Mayer’s credit, he never blinked. The promising tight end, nicknamed “Baby Gronk” by Notre Dame fans, immediately bounced off the ground after every thrashing.
The team is clearly trying to set an overall tone after a disappointing season. The Raiders know they need to be more physical and tougher in order to turn things around and anyone who can’t handle that won’t make it.
Early signs on Mayer are positive, and Crosby is the ideal person to test him in every way and see if he is ready to contribute at the level the Raiders believe he is capable of.