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NFL Draft rumors: Peter King, Albert Breer connect TE Michael Mayer to Giants at No. 25

That would certainly be a curveball

Notre Dame v Navy
Michael Mayer
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Well, this would be a 2023 NFL Draft curveball for the New York Giants. Both Peter King of NBC and Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, two of the best-connected NFL writers in the business, on Monday connected Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer to the New York Giants at No. 25. How’s that for creating an out of left field NFL Draft rumor?

In his annual mock draft, King gave Mayer to the Giants at No. 25, leaving Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. on the board to do that. He wrote:

Six years ago, the Giants took tight end Evan Engram 23rd overall, and Engram never matched the lofty draft status. In Mayer, New York hopes to find a consistent weapon for Daniel Jones—to pair with Darren Waller at first, then to shine when Waller, entering his age-31 season, is done. Mayer, of course, could go higher—anywhere from 15 to 24. The Giants would be comfortable with a corner if Joey Porter Jr. or Deonte Banks is there, a wideout if Jordan Addison or another outside receiver is there, and maybe even an interior lineman. It’s a longshot, but the talent of Bijan Robinson or Jahmyr Gibbs also might tempt GM Joe Schoen, with the long-term uncertainty of Saquon Barkley hanging over the franchise. I’d love to go receiver here. But adding Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson (slot) and Parris Campbell in the last year makes receiver still a group of need but not a must-pick here. Interesting thing about Mayer is the book on him: He caught at least one pass in every one of his 36 games at Notre Dame, is the all-time leading tight end in receptions in the rich tradition of Irish football, might be a better blocker than pass-catcher, and missed just one game (groin strain) due to injury in three years. Daniel Jones could use a security blanket in the short and intermediate areas, and Waller and Mayer would give him two.

King, of course, added this caveat about how he thinks the draft is going to go:

“I don’t think I know. Actually, I know I don’t know.”

Breer wrote this:

What you need to know: The Giants went out to dinner with Smith-Njigba in Columbus and Jordan Addison in Los Angeles, so there’s a strong consensus built that the Giants are zeroing in on receivers at No. 25. And the idea is certainly in play, but I think there are two things to consider there. One, GM Joe Schoen and coach Brian Daboll are very aware that the roster still has a ways to go, so it’s not yet time to press needs. Two, with a strong tight end class and weaker receiver group, it’s certainly plausible the Giants could look at taking someone like Mayer to pair with Darren Waller for Daniel Jones.

Valentine’s View

I certainly believe the Giants intend to add to the Darren Waller-Daniel Bellinger tight end duo. I wouldn’t be thrilled with this decision, though. partially because of the positional value and partially because there is some disagreement about Mayer as an NFL prospect.

Most analysts have Mayer as TE1 in this class. 33rd Team is one of those, but writing for 33rd Team Greg Cosell says:

Mayer will be somewhat polarizing as an evaluation and projection to the next level, because he does not fit the athletic profile of the new-age TE.

How polarizing? Matt Waldman of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio has Mayer as TE7.

Let’s look at some other NFL Draft rumors with the draft only a few days away.

Cornerback/receiver or receiver/cornerback?

If the Giants are going to take those two positions in the first two rounds, what order should they be in. Here is what NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said about that during a draft conference call recently:

“This might be the first time that I can remember in a long time that I would advocate taking the wide receiver first because I actually like the group of corners in the second round that you would be staring at more than I like the receivers you would be staring at.

“When you get in the second round at the corners, we’ll see what happens with Emmanuel Forbes. I think he has a real shot to go in the first round even though he is 170 pounds currently. But with him, Ringo is intriguing from Georgia. Tyrique Stevenson from Miami. Riley Moss, I really like him, a lot of teams like him, from Iowa. Julius Brents, Kansas State. There’s a long list. There’s some teams that are Cam Smith teams. Others aren’t quite as high.

“There’s a lot of depth at this corner position. Whereas the wide receiver position I feel like it’s that kind of clump up there at the top. There’s a handful of guys, and ideally I think you would want to leave with one of those guys already in the fold.”

CB Julius Brents a late riser?

Could cornerback Julius Brents sneak into the first round? Perhaps even into consideration for the Giants at No. 25?

ESPN also mentioned Brents as a potential late riser.

BBV’s Chris Pflum says Brents “has legitimately rare physical and athletic traits that could make him a first round prospect.”

In his draft guide, Dane Brugler of The Athletic writes:

Brents has rare length for the position and impressive short-area quickness for his body type. With his long arms, he can make wide receivers uncomfortable at the line of scrimmage and mid-route, but his length is negated downfield because of his struggles to find the football. Overall, Brents’ inconsistent balance and ball skills are legitimate concerns at the next level, but he is a long-limbed, fluid athlete with the loose movements and speed to maintain phase. He offers the man-cover skills that will help him compete for starting-level snaps early in his NFL career.

What about Steve Avila?

In a few mock drafts recently, the big TCU center-guard has been selected at No. 25 for the Giants. ESPN’s Jordan Reid thinks Avila could sneak into Round 1:

With Avila, the lack of consistent options on the interior and a strong showing at the Senior Bowl helped boost his stock. I’ve heard that Dallas and New Orleans are two teams to keep an eye on with Avila.

Which draft trade chart are teams using?

Former NFL executive Joe Banner says the traditional Jimmy Johnson trade chart is obsolete, but there is no consensus across the league on what chart should be followed. Banner said when he was with the Eagles they had developed their own chart. He writes:

The bottom line is this: Times have changed with draft trades, and charts should, too, because some basic, obvious things have changed since the Jimmy Johnson chart was created. Honestly, I don’t think anyone should be using it today because so much of what it was based on is different. If they haven’t already, teams should be developing new charts or, at the very least, have their own revised version of Jimmy’s chart.

And if they don’t? Then they’re just lazy and not thinking strategically. It’s that simple.