Former John Mackey Award-Winner in Danger of Getting Cut by Raiders

tom telesco

Getty Las Vegas Raiders GM Tom Telesco.

One of the first free agent veterans the Las Vegas Raiders signed this offseason was tight end Harrison Bryant. He was expected to be the No. 2 tight end behind Michael Mayer but that won’t be the case anymore after the team used a first-round pick on Brock Bowers.

Mayer and Bowers will be the top two tight ends, which could lead to Bryant being on the roster bubble, according to David Kenyon of Bleacher Report.

“Harrison Bryant signed with the Raiders earlier this offseason, which in a vacuum makes this a head-scratching move,” Kenyon wrote in a May 19 column. “Didn’t expect Las Vegas to draft Brock Bowers after landing Michael Mayer last year, though! Bryant is a more proven tight end than Zach Gentry but might not really be in the Raiders’ plans anymore.”

Bryant was a John Mackey Award-winner in college, which means the Raiders have two on their roster. While Bryant isn’t nearly the receiver that Mayer or Bowers are, he’s the superior blocker of the three. He’d be a great No. 3 tight end if the Raiders decided to keep him. The team is likely going to try and be creative with how they use Mayer and Bowers as receivers so perhaps there’s still a role for Bryant as a more traditional tight end.

Antonio Pierce Has High Praise for Brock Bowers

The Raiders likely weren’t expecting to draft Bowers this year. Tight end wasn’t a major need and he was expected to be selected before the No. 13 pick. However, Bowers’ skillset was simply too good to pass up, according to head coach Antonio Pierce.

“I mean, you’re talking about probably the most dynamic player in college football at that tight end position in a long time,” Pierce said during his May 10 media availability. “It’s rare you get a guy like that [who] can line up as a slot receiver, see him in the backfield, reverses, catch the ball. But I think more importantly, [it’s] his toughness. Watching him block in the SEC, watching him get after guys, I mean that’s what impressed me. Just a gritty player, more importantly a winner, and he can help us score points.”

There’s nothing wrong with adding more good players even if it’s not a position of need. If both Bowers and Mayer are as good as they were in college, the Raiders have the best tight end duo in the NFL. Having Bryant in the mix might give the team the best overall tight end room in the league.

Can Brock Bowers Win OROY?

It’s easy to see Bowers having an instant impact in the NFL. He’s the only player to win the John Mackey Award twice in college football and he has a rare skillset for a tight end. The only thing that could hold him back from being one of the top Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates is quarterback play.

The Raiders have one of the weakest quarterback rooms in the NFL headlined by Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell. The team also has a lot of mouths to feed on offense and without a great quarterback, it could be difficult for all of the team’s weapons to get their stats.

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