Grading Brock Bowers’ 2024 NFL Draft landing spot with Raiders

Heading into the draft with question marks all over their roster, it should be no surprise that the Las Vegas Raiders invested high draft capital into upgrading… their tight end room . With Antonio Pierce taking over as head coach and Tom Telesco in as the next general manager, the new era starts off with a whimper. Brock Bowers is a generational tight end talent, that can’t be downplayed. But with how their current roster is set up, using the 13th overall pick on a TE is yet another misuse of a first-round selection by Raiders brass.

Overall Situation & Supporting Cast

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It goes without saying that this was one of the most questionable decisions in the first round, although the Falcons easily took the cake in this category. Brock Bowers was expected to enter a situation with a clearer shot at targets, instead of joining a team that already has a young TE.

Bowers will not only need to compete with second-year tight end Michael Mayer for targets, but he will also need to find his spot amongst Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, among others. And if that wasn’t tough enough, the quarterback situation is between Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew.

While Josh Jacobs departed this offseason, which does open up some passing game work, the plan for Bowers to earn a consistent role in his rookie season is far from clear. The Raiders, smart to look to upgrade their passing weapons, went about their first shot at rebuilding this roster in a very poor way, and the ripple effect could last a few seasons.

Year 1 Expectations

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Mayer struggled in his rookie season, only hauling in 27 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns across 14 games. While competition between him and Bowers likely knocks the ceilings of both players down a few pegs, it is likely that Bowers will see the most work of the two TEs.

Could there be more two tight-end formations run this year? Absolutely, seeing as how their WR room is fairly devoid of talent outside of their two-deep chart. Both Mayer and Bowers will likely see a fair share of time in-line and split out, but expect to see Bowers command more looks in the receiving game.

Bad news for Brock Bowers – Minshew doesn’t target his tight ends heavily, as seen by the low numbers from his time in Indianapolis last season. O’Connell isn’t much better, so the two QBs vying for the starting spot in Vegas.

Even with all of that being said, there is a reason that Pierce, Telesco, and the rest of the scouting department went with Bowers. Clearly, he will see the field a lot in his rookie season, so he should have decent-enough stats in his first season in the NFL.

2024 Stat Projections – 54 receptions, 551 receiving yards, 6 TDs

Fantasy Football Impact

The tight end position is one of the toughest positions to draft well at when it comes to fantasy football. Obviously, this position takes on even more of importance in a tight-end premium (TEP) format, but Bowers is just another option added to the pool for you to consider.

Bowers shouldn’t be drafted as a top-12 option this year, and even his case to be one of the first 15 TEs off the board is shaky. But draft capital is king in the NFL, so if you are drafted with a high draft pick, then a big role should be in store.

With that being said, tread lightly if you decide to utilize Brock Bowers this year for your redraft leagues. He is tough to predict at this point, and likely will have lots of ebbs and flows throughout his first season.

For dynasty purposes, Bowers is the clear TE1 in your rookie drafts, no questions asked. While a shaky landing spot may appear bad on paper for his first season, his spot with the Raiders has promise down the road, so he should be drafted as a premium rookie asset.

Landing Spot Grade

Grade: C-

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This grade isn’t about talent, as Bowers is clearly one of the better tight ends to come out of the college ranks in the past five seasons. But at what point does a struggling team like the Raiders stop making the easy decisions difficult via the NFL Draft?

Even dating back to the days of Al Davis when the Raiders would prioritize speed over talent, this franchise continuously fails to get out of their own way when it comes to roster development. And even with a new head coach and general manager in place, they continue to make the same personnel issues of previous leaderships.

Granted, Bowers is a nice weapon for an offense that, outside of Adams, can struggle to move the ball in the passing game. But when you already have Mayer locked into the TE1 role on this team and plenty of question marks at QB, drafting Bowers becomes even more puzzling.

Based on roster fit alone, drafting Bowers doesn’t even earn the Raiders front office a passing grade, and many people feel this grade could justifiably be lower. The only thing saving Las Vegas here is the talent of Bowers — otherwise, this looks to be a complete whiff.

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