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Las Vegas Raiders select Georgia TE Brock Bowers with the 13th overall pick. Grade: B

For the second straight season, the Raiders have made a tight end a major part of their draft plan after selecting Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer with the 35th overall pick in the 2023 draft. It’s an interesting construct for offensive coordinator Luke Getsy in that Mayer is more of an in-line reliable guy, while Brock Bowers can mess up linebackers and safeties to the second and third levels of the field. There were certainly more pressing needs here, but there’s no denying what Bowers can do for an offense. 

Brock Bowers was a four-star prospect out of Napa High School in Napa, California, and it took him no time to make an impact in Georgia’s offense. As a freshman, he caught 56 passes on 71 targets for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns, winning all kinds of Freshman of the Year awards. No one-year wonder, Bowers caught 63 passes on 82 targets for 942 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022, and he had 56 catches on seven targets for 717 yards and six touchdowns in 2023.

Bowers certainly projects well as a high-end tight end in the NFL, but there could be more to the picture with his NFL team. He didn’t run downfield for a ton of isolated vertical shots in college, but it could be a hidden superpower that his next team will unleash. Overall, it’s obvious why he’s everybody’s TE1, and there could be more to come.

PLUSES

— Plays at 6′ 3⅛” and 243 pounds with below-average wingspan, arm length, and hand size. Now, go to the tape and tell me any of that is evident. He looks about 6’6″, 260, with all the physical attributes you want at the position.

— Bowers’ desire for the ball shows up both in his acrobatic catches (extending his catch radius), and the ways in which he’ll win contested catches.

— Brings nice acceleration through his routes, and understands how and when to break into gaps in coverage.

— Wins after the catch with pure power; if you’re trying to arm-tackle him, you might as well go home, especially after he gets a full head of steam in the open field.

— When he squares up to block, he’s capable of pancaking defensive linemen with his technique and will to dominate.

MINUSES

— Bowers does need work on his blocking technique; he’s just as prone to wild misses as he is to direct hits.

— He’s more of a glider as a runner than an explosive weapon off the line of scrimmage.

— Arm length shows up as a negative when he has to go up against lankier defenders in tight situations.

I like Bowers a lot, and it’s clear that he’s TE1 in this class. I’d stop short of the “generational” label; he strikes me as an excellent H/slot weapon in a TE-heavy offense with Travis Kelce/George Kittle potential. I appreciate how he’s maximized his tools, and there could be more to the ceiling.

That ceiling may be his ability to run Y-iso routes as Kelce and Kittle do; Georgia didn’t have him doing that a lot, but he’s clearly got the tools to make it happen.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire