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Opinion: Dawson Knox, all-around tight end, could develop into future starter

Knox was underused by his college offense.

Not finished after their first two selections, the Buffalo Bills moved back into the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Trading up to the 96th pick of the draft, the Bills selected Dawson Knox, tight end from Mississippi.

The 6’4” 251-lb Knox has the tools to be a future starter at tight end. A 34.5 inch vertical leap and a 7.12 three cone drill are great signs for his athletic talent, and with 33.5” arms and nearly 10” hands, he has the build to sustain run blocks.

For now, his blocking acumen is his selling point—and that’s something that both Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott called out as qualities in their desired tight ends. He has a strong punch, drives through his opponent, and has solid body positioning. Knox is also a natural hands-catcher who can adjust to off-target passes.

He was barely used in the passing game at Ole Miss. In his two seasons on offense, he combined for 39 receptions and 605 yards, with no touchdowns. The Bills are hoping they can get more out of him in that department.

The good news is, Knox is a tireless worker, loved by coaches, and super aggressive. He’s a project tight end, but has a good chance to develop into a useful piece. And this is an all-around blocker and receiver, not a player who can only handle one of those.

To move up for Knox, the Bills traded both of their fourth-round picks. This means that, in addition to the 1, 2, 3, and 3 that they’ve used, the team has a 5, 6, 7, and 7 remaining. Missing out on the entire fourth round will be frustrating, but the trade was fair value and the team still has an array of picks remaining.

My reaction to this selection is similar to my reaction for the Singletary pick—I think he’s a good developmental player who the team won’t expect to start out of the gate. I also would’ve rather had Hakeem Butler as the choice, but I won’t kill the selection for it. I don’t mind the trade up. Here’s hoping that the Bills can use Knox in a more creative way than the Rebels.