When the Buffalo Bills moved back into the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft to select offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, most fans thought he was a replacement for right tackle Jordan Mills. The Bills already had a talented left tackle in Cordy Glenn, but Dawkins could push Mills for the starting gig on the right side while serving as solid insurance for Glenn if the latter was unable to recover from offseason surgery on his foot/ankle area.
Of course, we all know what happened. Glenn was unable to last the whole season, playing in the Bills’ first two games before missing the next two with more discomfort in that same foot and ankle area. After playing in games five through eight, Glenn shut it down for good, leaving Dawkins as the sole left tackle.
How did the young man fare on the season? With all things considered, he held his own at one of the toughest positions to play in professional sports.
2017 Cap Hit (per Spotrac): 760,589 (0.49% of 2017 Cap)
2017 Cap Hit Rank by Position: 36th among left tackles; 78th among all tackles
2017 Vital Stats: 16 games played, 11 starts, 781 snaps (74.24% of offensive total), 3 penalties, 30 penalty yards, 3 sacks allowed (per FOX Sports).
Dawkins has plenty of room to grow, but he definitely was not the worst lineman on the field for the Bills in 2017, which is a step up from what many rookies experience on the offensive line early in their careers. Pro Football Focus gave Dawkins a grade of 74.5, or average, for his rookie campaign. That mark was good for 33rd among all NFL tackles last season, and it was the highest grade for a tackle on Buffalo’s roster.
Dawkins provided great value overall when considering how little Buffalo paid him in comparison to how strong his play was. Cordy Glenn’s cap hit was 18 times that of Dawkins. The rookie was so solid that Buffalo traded Glenn to shed his salary and move up in the 2018 NFL Draft, paving the way for Dawkins to become the permanent left tackle sooner rather than later.
Best 2017 Bills salary cap values
10. QB Tyrod Taylor (article)
9. LB Preston Brown (article)
8. LT Dion Dawkins (article)
7. LB Matt Milano (article)
6. CB E.J. Gaines (article)
5. RB LeSean McCoy (article)
4. OG Richie Incognito (article)
3. FS Micah Hyde (article)
2. SS Jordan Poyer (article)
1. CB Tre’Davious White (article)