It’s finally draft week! After weeks of spotty news and exhaustive mock drafting, in comes the most exciting time of the offseason. Kansas City, home of the league MVP and reigning Super Bowl champs, prepares itself for Thursday night and the excitement is palpable. Right on cue, activity around the league is beginning to match the buzz that has been building for weeks. To start this momentous week, a multi-time MVP winner was traded. How’s that for a little pre-draft excitement? It’s a fitting precursor to an event that can also have franchise-altering implications, both for the teams themselves and young players like tight end Michael Mayer.
Granted, nothing quite as noteworthy has happened in Dallas since the beginning of free agency. Still, the start of the week has included some intriguing whispers out of the Dallas Cowboys camp on who they might be pursuing with their first-round pick. Reports have been surfacing that the Cowboys are indeed targeting tight end Michael Mayer as their first-round selection.
Dallas Cowboys Linked to Michael Mayer as First-Round Pick
The idea that Mayer could be the Cowboys’ pick is not unheard of to this point—it’s actually fairly common. The difference here is that the smoke seems to be coming from inside The Star itself now.
Cowboys Have Been Quiet About First-Round Pick
For years, the front office in Dallas was the leaky faucet of the league. Insiders, particularly established local media, seemed to always have the inside scoop long before it was meant to be leaked. Draft picks like Leighton Vander Esch were telegraphed weeks in advance.
But things have quickly changed over the last few years—lips have tightened, and sources have dried up. Coach McCarthy seems to be orchestrating a lot of this. Either way, the Dallas Cowboys have kept their cards much closer to the vest, including plans for the first-round pick this year. It helps that they enter this draft much less strapped for positional need than in years past. There are a few soft spots on the roster but hardly any glaring holes, if any at all. There are plenty of directions Dallas could go, but neon arrows are increasingly pointing in Michael Mayer’s direction.
Per a couple front office execs, the floor for Michael Mayer is believed to the the Cowboys at 26. They have shown a ton of interest and done a ton of work on the tight end. Of course, both told me they aren't totally sure he gets out of the teens. Welcome to this draft!
— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) April 24, 2023
This report appears to be coming via league executives who believe there’s no way the Cowboys would pass on Michael Mayer. If Dallas is considered Mayer’s “floor,” it suggests front offices know for sure the Cowboys are targeting him. Reports like this are getting stronger by the day, but it’d be a stretch to call the news surprising. Mock drafts from our own writers, along with some of the most connected people in the draft, have been linking Mayer to the Dallas Cowboys as their first-round pick.
Mock Drafts are Mostly Unified on Michael Mayer
Recently, it seems that every mock draft out has the Dallas Cowboys taking Mayer with their first-round pick. LWOS’s own mock draft extraordinaire, Mike Kashuba, thought Dallas could take the Notre Dame product in round one. Dane Brugler from The Athletic, and both Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay from ESPN had the same outcome in their respective mocks as well.
— Kevin Gray Jr. (@KevinGraySports) April 24, 2023
One of the interesting things about these mocks in particular is that Kiper and Brugler also had the Cowboys taking Tyler Smith last year. Both have strong connections in draft circles, and that combined with their accuracy last year just adds to the possibility. Other reports closely tied to the Dallas Cowboys strongly suggest that the first-round pick would be Michael Mayer if available. But that could be a huge “if.”
If there’s one guarantee, it’s that the draft will get chaotic. Draft day trades, surprise picks, and quizzical falls will all inevitably be part of the event. Perhaps Mayer goes earlier than most imagined, or maybe another player drops right in Dallas’ lap (CeeDee Lamb, anyone?). If Mayer is there, many fans will be praying this all amounts to nothing, and the Cowboys go a different direction. To be fair, first round tight ends don’t have a sterling track record of success. And this all very well could lead to absolutely nothing—everyone lies before the draft.
Lying Season is Here
There’s a large contingency of Cowboys fans, and football enthusiasts in general, that are vehemently against the idea of a first-round tight end. “Positional value,” they exclaim through gritted teeth. The same arguments are sure to crop up whenever a certain running back out of Austin is mentioned. There’s plenty of merit to these arguments, but they tend to become exhausting when it’s the 26th pick being discussed.
Picking that late in the round should mean the best player on the board, who will help the team the most, is the pick—turn in the card and rejoice. But to those who anguish at the thought, I say: Never fear, my pessimistic friends, lying season is in full effect and no one can be trusted.
Smoke screens, front office lies, and—unfortunately—value-dropping reports are all common and expected right before the draft. Teams constantly put out false reports and lie about their intentions to throw other teams off the scent. It’s all part of the game, and those reporting their lies (hi) are crucial in that process. The proliferation of reports connecting Dallas to Mayer are nearly to the point of becoming suspicious. Some local media believe that Dallas is actually hoping for Mayer to be gone by the time they pick.
— Andre’ Jackson (@therealdre_jack) April 24, 2023
Luckily for everyone involved, the wait is almost over. Thursday, all the rumors on who the Dallas Cowboys might take with their first round pick will be answered. Then, all the eternal optimists and unyielding pessimists can clash over whether or not it was the right choice. Draft week is here again, folks.
Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports