Raiders’ Antonio Pierce explains why he thinks Brock Bowers was the ‘most

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers was selected by the Raiders at No. 13 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, and based on what they saw from him in college, Las Vegas is confident in where his talent can take him on its team and in the NFL. The Raiders boosted their offense with a player who head coach Antonio Pierce sees as one of the best at the position coming out of college.

Pierce liked what he saw from Bowers the last few years, calling his Georgia career “just different.” His tape is one reason the head coach wanted Bowers on the Raiders’ offense. Pierce had high praise for the 21-year-old, saying that of all the college tights ends, Bowers lands among the best he has seen in a while, while listing some of the qualities that make him special.

“I mean, you’re talking about probably the most dynamic player in college football at that tight end position in a long time,” Pierce said (via NBC Sports). “It’s rare you get a guy like that [who] can line up as a slot receiver, see him in the backfield, reverses, catch the ball. But I think more importantly, [it’s] his toughness. Watching him block in the SEC, watching him get after guys, I mean that’s what impressed me. Just a gritty player, more importantly a winner, and he can help us score points.”

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Bowers was the back-to-back winner of the John Mackey Award given annually to the nation’s top tight end. In 2023, he lead the team with 56 catches for 714 yards and 6 touchdowns. His 56 receptions were second in the nation among tight ends, while his 6 touchdowns put him at No. 6 in the nation in that category.

Las Vegas has another young tight end on their roster, Michael Mayer, who was a second-round pick in 2023. Last season, in 14 games, Mayer had 27 receptions for 304 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Raiders do not yet know who their quarterback will be, as Aidan O’Connell or Gardner Minshew will battle it out in training camp, but whoever gets the job will have two tight ends as options. Pierce believes he has two of the best and is looking to make them a problem for opposing defenses by putting them on the field together.

“You look at the National Football League, it’s difficult,” Pierce said. “I mean, being a former player going against 12 personnel, the matchups, the alignments that they get you in, what you do defensively I think becomes an issue as well. … I think we’re fortunate to have two tight ends on our roster, that in the last four years of college football were pretty much the best two, and I think hopefully that creates issues. It’s going to create issues for us at practice, we’ll see that. In our division, we’ve got some really good tight ends, so it’ll be good reps for us as well.”

Last season, the Raiders were 24th in receptions (348) and 23rd in receiving yards (3,666). Wide receiver DaVante Adams, who will be another weapon for whomever QB1 turns out to be, led the team last year in receptions (175) and receiving yards (1,144). He also led all rushers and receivers in average yards per game (67.3).

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