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NFL Draft: Raiders trade up for Darren Waller replacement, Notre Dame's Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer was a possibility to be the first tight end taken in this year's draft. When he slipped behind two other tight ends, the Las Vegas Raiders got aggressive.

The Raiders traded up three spots and took Mayer, a highly productive tight end out of Notre Dame. The Raiders gave up a fifth-round pick, No. 141 overall, to move up three spots and get their tight end.

The pick came right after the Detroit Lions made a bit of a surprise pick and took Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta with the 34th overall pick. Dalton Kincaid was the only tight end to go in the first round. It was a deep tight end class and all of the top prospects had different strengths. The order in which they were picked depended on what teams preferred. The Raiders clearly liked Mayer's production. Mayer had 2,099 yards and 18 yards in three college seasons.

The Raiders needed a new tight end. They traded Darren Waller to the New York Giants in March for the 100th overall pick, a third-rounder.

Las Vegas made two solid picks to start the draft. In the first round they had Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson, who was considered by some the best defensive prospect in the draft, fall to them at No. 7 overall. Then they took Mayer, who would have fit in fine among the first-round picks.

The Raiders are getting a makeover in the passing game. Jimmy Garoppolo replaces Derek Carr at quarterback. Now Mayer will replace Waller at tight end. The Raiders know Mayer can be productive on a big stage.

The Raiders snagged perhaps the best tight end in the NFL Draft in Notre Dame's Michael Mayer. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
The Raiders snagged perhaps the best tight end in the NFL Draft in Notre Dame's Michael Mayer. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) (G Fiume via Getty Images)