NFL Scouting Combine

Napa product Bowers watches, learns from 49ers' Kittle

NBC Universal, Inc.

INDIANAPOLIS — George Kittle already was an established NFL star with the 49ers as tight end Brock Bowers was working his way into one of the nation’s top recruits at Napa High.

Kittle set a new pay scale for NFL tight ends in 2020 when he signed a contract that averages $15 million per season.

Now, there are 11 tight ends making at least $12.5 million per season, and young players entering the league are making huge impacts early in their careers.

“Tight end is a prime position right now,” Bowers said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I’m just glad it’s now.”

Bowers is set to cash in as the first tight end to be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. He is projected as a top-10 selection.

He declared for the draft following his junior season at Georgia, where he was a three-time All-American and two-time national champion.

Bowers had a seven-catch, 152-yard performance in Georgia’s 38-7 victory over TCU in the national championship game to conclude his sophomore season.

Bowers listed Kittle, Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce as the tight ends he has followed the closest. 

“I grew up watching Gronk,” Bowers said. “I love watching Gronk. He’s kind of like a huge role model for me, just looking at him when I was growing up. I also love watching Kittle and Kelce.”

Growing up in wine country and with the 49ers on TV every week, he has watched a lot of Kittle through the years — both as a fan and someone studying his craft.

“I love watching him,” Bowers said of Kittle. “We do some film study stuff with Georgia. I love watching him play and try to learn some things from his game.”

Kittle is set to enter his eighth year in the NFL. He has 460 catches for 6,274 yards and 37 touchdowns in his first seven seasons as a pro after the 49ers selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Like Kittle, Bowers considers his versatility and ability to create matchup issues as his biggest attributes. Bowers is an explosive run-after-the-catch threat.

Bowers did not perform any drills at the NFL Scouting Combine but figures to be ready to work out during Georgia’s pro day on March 13.

He had surgery in October to accelerate recovery from a high ankle sprain. Despite appearing in 10 games, he led Georgia with 56 receptions for 714 yards and six touchdowns.

There is little question whether he can continue the recent trend of young tight ends entering the league to make immediate impacts.

Detroit’s Sam LaPorta caught 86 passes for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie. Buffalo’s Dalton Kincaid had 73 catches for 673 yards. Green Bay got huge contributions from rookies Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft, who shared the load at tight end.

“It’s exciting to see those young guys balling out because, obviously, my rookie year is coming up,” Bowers said. “I’d like to do the same thing, so it’d be good to kind of learn from those dudes and learn from what they did and what they did well.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us