• Bowers has earned two consecutive PFF scores of 90.0 or higher: His 92.1 mark as a true freshman was the best mark among Power Five tight ends.
• Georgia’s tight end is already a top 10 draft prospect: Bowers is ranked No. 5 on PFF’s early 2024 draft board.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The tight end position was once a first-round staple in the NFL draft. From 2000 to 2010, teams drafted a whopping 16 tight ends on Day 1, with varying degrees of success. Since then, however, NFL teams have been more hesitant to invest any significant amount of draft capital in the position. In the 13 drafts since 2011, only 10 first-round picks have been used at tight ends.
Many of the best position players of the last 12 years: Rob Gronkowski, travis kelce, jimmy graham, mark andrews and george kittle, to name a few, were chosen after the first 32 picks on draft day. The willingness of NFL teams to spend a valuable draft pick on the position has apparently waned over the years, possibly due to the later-round value picks of recent memory and the fact that many of previous first-round tight ends have been relative busts. to your project post.
The 2024 draft features a prospect talented enough to buck that recent trend: Georgia’s Brock Bowers. The rising junior begins the 2023-24 season as the fifth overall prospect in the PFF Large Board and could end up as the best tight end prospect since PFF began ranking college football in 2014.
Bowers took the college football world by storm as a true freshman in 2021. The former four-star recruit led the national champion Georgia Bulldogs in all receiving categories with 71 targets, 56 receptions, 882 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, breaking the overall record. He graded PFF for a freshman tight end in the process. He posted a 92.1 mark, while no other freshman tight end in the PFF College era has topped 88.1. In fact, only five other FBS freshman tight ends (minimum 100 snaps) since 2014 have surpassed an overall grade of 80.0.
|Season||Overall rating (Rk*)||Reception degree (Rk*)||Stroke block degree (Rk*)|
|2022||90.0 (3rd)||90.0 (2nd)||73.8 (7th)|
|2021||92.1 (1st)||91.6 (1st)||74.1 (13)|
*Ranked among all Power Five qualified tight ends
Despite being slightly undersized for the 230-pound spot, Bowers has completely dominated collegiate competition in his first two seasons as a Bulldog. Reigning John Mackey Award winner ranks first in receiving rate (93.1), receptions (121), yards (1,829), yards after reception (1,004), yards after contact (443), first down receptions (80), forced missed tackles (26), blast plays (44) and contested receptions (21) among all FBS tight ends during his first two seasons in the PFF College era.
In addition to his elite receiving skills, Bowers is capable of holding his own as a blocker. He has allowed just one quarterback rush on 52 pass-blocking plays in his first two seasons, and his run-blocking rating of 73.8 in 2022 ranked seventh among all Power Five tight ends. A two-time All-American, he is one of eight Power Five tight ends to earn a 70.0+ rating in both pass protection and run blocking over the past two seasons.
According to PFF’s win-above-average metric, Bowers was the most valuable tight end in the entire country in both his freshman and sophomore years. And he’s poised to retain that crown this season as the focal point of Georgia’s offense.
How Bowers’ dominance will translate to the NFL level remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say we haven’t seen this level of production from a college tight end in the PFF era. While the NFL has clearly resented investing in the position with first-round picks in recent years, another elite season for Bowers in 2023 should have teams salivating at the chance to draft one of the top wing prospects around. closed in recent memory.