BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The 2023 NFL Draft boasts a strong tight end class, and the best-ranked of them all is Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer.

Mayer was an integral part of the Irish offense for the past three seasons, holding the school’s tight end record for career receptions (180), receiving yards (2099) and touchdowns (18).

“I can really go up and get that ball,” Mayer said at the NFL Combine. “I can make contested catches and I can really route people up I feel like. I can have that connection with that quarterback also. He knows where I’m going to be, he knows how I’m going to run my route and I know where that quarterback is going to be putting that ball.”

With his strong stats and measurables, coming in at just under 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds, Mayer possesses the tools to make the transition as a big-frame tight end in the NFL.

Even with his accolades and numbers, he might pride himself most on his leadership.

“I was a captain last year, we started out 0-2,” Mayer said. “We had a captain’s meeting, we said ‘look, what do we need to change?’ And the answer was we’re not going to change anything. We’re going to stick to our standard, stick to our execution … Nobody is going to walk in this facility hanging their head, nobody is going to complain, things like that. That’s what we did, we kind of turned the season around.”

Mayer met with the Bills at the NFL Combine, and he believes it went very well.

“They’re a great organization,” Mayer said of the Bills. “They got one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now in Josh Allen. Really … it’s just trying to be myself, trying to show these coaches what kind of person I am and does it fit their culture? Does it fit their team?”

The 21-year-old is projected to be a first or second-round draft pick.

Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.