Rebutting ESPN analyst’s take on Raiders’ Brock Bowers as the worst first round selection

ESPN analyst not feeling the Brock Bowers pick.
Georgia's Brock Bowers
Georgia's Brock Bowers / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Was the Las Vegas Raiders selection of Brock Bowers with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft the worst selection of the draft?  It’s hard to label a generational talent such as the former Georgia Bulldogs as such, but one ESPN analyst believes the talented tight end wasn’t a need for the team at that spot.

The Raiders did have other holes to fill entering the draft and tight end wasn’t a huge need.  That is the stance Liz Loza, fantasy and sports betting analyst, is standing behind in her assessment and reasoning behind labeling Bowers as a head scratching selection by the black & silver.

In ESPN’s article of the best and worst picks of the 2024 NFL Draft, Loza writes:

“I was stupefied by the Raiders' selection of Bowers, and it's not because of his talent level. He's a potential generational talent with a do-it-all skill set who was expected to come off the board before the first half of the first round. However, Las Vegas spent an early second-round pick on Michael Mayer just a year ago and entered the draft with holes all along the offensive line. In the end, I suppose, the value Bowers presented was too great to pass on.”

Why Raiders selecting Brock Bowers was the best possible selection

While Mayer didn’t really come on until the latter part of his rookie season, Loza’s point is valid.  Tight end wasn’t a huge need and if they wanted to add a second tight end, they could’ve done so later in the draft while addressing their need at one of the other positions of need like the offensive line.  To the Raiders credit, they did address that need with the selection of Oregon guard Jackson Powers-Johnson with the No. 44 overall pick and the selection of DJ Glaze in Round 3.

But, at the time Mayer was selected, did they know the draft board would have a top talent like Powers-Johnson fall to them?  Perhaps, but with the bigger need at quarterback, the rebuttal here is that once the Atlanta Falcons pulled the biggest head-scratcher and selected Michael Penix Jr., the top quarterbacks would be off the board by the time it was the Raiders time to select.  With Bo Nix going a couple spots ahead, the Raiders would’ve had to really believe in Nix to attempt jumping up a couple spots to obtain him.

With the board working out the way it did, once an opportunity for a quarterback was off the board, the Raiders did what any team should do with an early round pick.  They selected the best player available which was Bowers. 

As Loza stated, the value “was too great to pass on,” and for the Raiders, they are not just getting a tight end, they are getting a playmaker who will add versatility to the offense.  He can lineup anywhere on the field and along with Mayer will present an interesting tight end tandem for the Raiders.  In fact, his presence in the offense should make Mayer more effective as the bigger tight end target. 

So, while Loza makes a good point in her assessment, we’ll have to disagree that the Raiders are getting a high-volume target, a dynamic playmaker who will help improve the offense even with the questions at quarterback.  Who knows, perhaps the team’s future quarterback will be Bowers’ former teammate at Georgia, Carson Beck.