Raiders TE Michael Mayer ready to work with Brock Bowers

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HENDERSON, Nev. -- Michael Mayer was anything but gregarious when the second-year tight end saw the Las Vegas Raiders use their first-round pick, No. 13 overall, in last month's draft on another tight end in Georgia's Brock Bowers.

Mayer, after all, was the Raiders' second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2023.

"It is what it is," Mayer said Tuesday at OTAs, describing his knee-jerk reaction. "I mean, they drafted me last year, so I've just got to come here, keep my head down, keep working hard, try to win as many games as possible. I mean, that's totally out of my control, so I'm here to play ball."

How soon was Mayer able to flip the script and turn Bowers' addition into a positive with two dynamic tight ends and a coming gaggle of difficult-to-defend 12 personnel sets?

"Oh, it's already in the past," Mayer said. "It's already way behind me."

In fact, Mayer was also looking forward to putting behind his oft-frustrating and less-than-stellar rookie season and combining with Bowers this fall.

"How are you going to stop [us]?" Mayer said. "Brock has a lot of speed ... I've gotten a little bit faster, and I think there's a ton of things -- No. 1, in the run game, Brock will be able to help me out with, too, blocking. But then No. 2, who's going to guard both of us? If you put a 'backer here, put a small safety here? I'm a big body, Brock's a big body, so it's going to be a lot of fun."

Mayer missed the Raiders' final three games with a left toe injury but proclaimed himself completely healthy at the start of OTAs.

His production last season, though, was anything but.

He did not have his second catch until Week 5, didn't catch his first touchdown pass until Week 10 and finished with 27 receptions for 304 yards and two TDs.

Mayer said new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's scheme was "easier" to learn than last year's, authored by former coach/playcaller Josh McDaniels and tweaked by interim O.C. Bo Hardegree.

"I'd say it's a little bit more simple, yeah ... easier to understand," Mayer said.

"I'd say about halfway through the season last year, my blocking really turned on. But those first seven, eight games, I really didn't know what the heck I was even doing out there, so I've definitely got better at that. ... And then I feel like through the rehab process, strengthening my hips, strengthening my hammies, everything, I've been able to sort of become faster, a little bit more twitchy, things like that."

Mayer's athleticism was on display in practice Tuesday, catching a quick pass in traffic across the middle of the end zone from Aidan O'Connell in 11-on-11 team drills.

Getsy, meanwhile, said he was "extremely excited" about pairing Bowers with Mayer.

"Brock's a unique guy ... he was probably the best player in the SEC for some time there and he won a bunch of games," Getsy said. "Any time you can add that type of caliber of player into your organization, you're going to get better. And you match him and you pair him with the talent that we already have here, I think that just makes you more dynamic. This league's about finding as many dynamic guys as you can get on your team. That's the goal."

Said Mayer: "We're running a lot of stuff out there. Brock's been great so far. He's been a great dude, eager to learn, so it's been great. We've got a great tight end room."

And Mayer has already done his homework, calling the tight end who most recently played in Getsy's scheme with the Chicago Bears.

"Cole Kmet from Notre Dame," Mayer said, "I'm pretty good buddies with him, so I talked to him and he said he loves Getsy. ... He loves Steck [Luke Steckel], my tight ends coach, and, obviously, [Kmet] just got a big-time contract and he's got a ton of balls his way.

"So, from everything I've seen and everything I've heard and learned, Getsy's offense is very good for tight ends. It's a very good for offenses and scoring points, so we're excited about that."