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2024 Position Breakdown: Tight Ends

Position Breakdown_TE_2560x1440

Ahead of 2024 Training Camp, is previewing each position group and evaluating the players that could make up the 53-man roster. Let's dive into the tight end room.

Brock Bowers could potentially earn the title as the steal of the draft after being taken with the No. 13 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The question about Bowers isn't concerning what he did at the college level. What didn't he do at the college level? He won back-to-back national championships with the Georgia Bulldogs, totaling 20 receptions, 323 total yards and three touchdowns in his two college football playoff appearances. He was a First-Team All-American selection all three years and was the first player in college football to win the John Mackey Award twice, given to the nation's top tight end.

While many media members questioned the pick of Bowers considering the team selected All-American tight end Michael Mayer the previous year, there's a strong consensus in the building that Bowers will elevate the offense to new heights alongside Mayer.

"One of the things we looked at in the offseason was offensively, just keep it simple – we've got to score. We've got to score more points on offense. ... He should help us in the regard," General Manager Tom Telesco said of Bowers. "Still a young player. I like what I've seen so far. Not trying to evaluate too much in OTAs but you can't help but see his athletic ability, his feel in the passing game."

Along with the first-rounder, the Silver and Black added veteran Harrison Bryant, who played four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. While he excels as a blocking tight end, he's also racked up 89 receptions, 791 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in his career.

Things were starting to click for 2023 second-rounder Michael Mayer before an injury forced him out the last three games of the season.

During Weeks 10-14, Mayer caught 14 passes for 145 receiving yards and two touchdowns. High expectations were held to embody the starting TE role and despite the Raiders selecting Bowers this past draft, Mayer seems more equipped than ever to fill those shoes.

"I'm way happier, I'm way more positive," Mayer said of going into Year 2. "I love to be out here on this field. I love to play football, man. ... I've definitely flipped the script a little bit. Last year, maybe there were some days I didn't want to come in or something was going on, like I flipped the script. It's time to dig down and play some ball, win some ball games and do what I need to do for this team. Rookie year is over. That's way in the past. I've already reflected on it. I've already put it behind me."

From the way Mayer has looked early this offseason, it seems he's right about flipping the script and raising his confidence following a strenuous rookie year.

"Mike Mayer has been outstanding. I cannot say enough good things about Mike Mayer, his professional approach for a guy that's only in his second year," tight ends coach Luke Steckel said. "He's got me and everyone else fooled. The leadership he's shown in the room, the energy he brings every day. He's an incredible teammate. He's encouraging his fellow teammates, his fellow tight ends, the entire offense. ... I had really high expectations because of his reputation as a player and as a person before I got here, and he's exceeded all of those."

The other returning tight ends are Zach Gentry, Cole Fotheringham and John Samuel Shenker. Fotheringham, the former Utah Utes standout, appeared in two contests for the Silver and Black in 2023 and caught five passes for 71 yards in the preseason. Shenker, a UDFA signing from Auburn, also appeared in all three 2023 preseason games.

Gentry provides the most NFL experience to the tight end room, having started 26 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers in four seasons before signing with the Raiders in December of 2023.

View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders tight ends heading into 2024 Training Camp.

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