Brock Bowers headlines 6 first-round wild cards; what is Michael Penix Jr.’s ceiling/floor?


Checking in at just over 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds, the Georgia standout is a truly rare talent with unique tools as a playmaker. Bowers can line up anywhere in the formation as a flex tight end with a new-school game. The 21-year-old can create and exploit mismatches, whether aligned in an attached position as a traditional “Y” or in the slot as a quasi-receiver. In addition, the big-bodied athlete can jump into the backfield to take handoffs on off-tackle runs and also execute jet-sweeps. His spectacular burst and running skills allow him to turn bubble screens into touchdowns. He simply dominates games as an exceptional route runner with soft hands and devastating RAC (run after catch) ability.

Wha’ts not to like? The league anxiously awaits the arrival of this dynamic football player with an elite combination of size, speed and skill.

Watching Bowers run through or around defenders, I’m reminded of a young Jeremy Shockey, the Miami All-American who entered the league as the No. 14 overall pick back in 2002 and earned first-team All-Pro honors as a rookie. Though that comparison might not quite match the gold-jacket expectations some have placed on the Georgia product, Bowers’ physicality, toughness and smooth receiving skills are eerily similar to those of the four-time Pro Bowler.

Teams looking for an offensive spark are certainly familiar with Bowers’ game. A combo tight end with underrated blocking skills, he can stay on the field for all three downs as a run blocker/pass catcher. He displays the potential to provide a Kittle-like hybrid impact.

Of course, Kittle was a fifth-round steal for the 49ers back in 2017. In fact, many of today’s best tight ends — including Travis Kelce, Sam LaPorta, Mark Andrews, Dallas Goedert, Trey McBride and Cole Kmet — entered the league as non-first-round picks. Meanwhile, some of the most highly drafted players at the position in recent years (think: Kyle Pitts and O.J. Howard) have struggled to provide the production most anticipated. That’s why you’re seeing a pretty wide spectrum of forecasts for Bowers’ draft slot at the end of this month.

Personally, I see Bowers’ draft range spanning from Pick No. 10 (New York Jets) to No. 21 (Miami Dolphins). In between, the Indianapolis Colts (No. 15), Seattle Seahawks (No. 16) and Cincinnati Bengals (No. 18) feel like potential landing spots.

I’m quite confident that whoever drafts Bowers at the end of this month won’t regret it. This dude is a different breed, with instant-impact, superstar potential on any team that incorporates a plan to exploit all of his fantastic traits.

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