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2019 SB Nation NFL Blog Mock Draft: Buffalo Bills take Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson

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The 2019 NFL Mock Draft from the team bloggers at SB Nation is up and running. With three picks posted per day, the Buffalo Bills’ selection at number nine has come quickly. Here is a rundown of the picks so far:

1. Arizona Cardinals - Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
2. San Francisco 49ers - Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
3. New York Jets - Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
4. Oakland Raiders - Quinnen Williams, DI, Alabama
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
6. New York Giants - Devin White, LB, LSU
7. Jacksonville Jaguars - Dwayne Haskins, QB, OSU
8. Detroit Lions - Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

With the ninth pick in the 2019 SB Nation NFL Bloggers’ Mock Draft, the Buffalo Bills select Iowa Hawkeyes tight end T.J. Hockenson.

Here is the short version of our rationale we shared with the other bloggers:

The Buffalo Bills have several holes on their roster, but none more glaring than at starting tight end. Head coach Sean McDermott has frequently mentioned it in interviews this offseason. After Buffalo signed six offensive linemen and three wide receivers in free agency, they need a dynamic and complete player at tight end to help quarterback Josh Allen develop. While we considered Jawaan Taylor with this selection, taking a right tackle over a multi-dimensional player was ultimately too much for us when adequate RTs will be available later. D.K. Metcalf was also on our short list, but Hockenson’s blocking ability made him the pick over the receiver.

I made the pick with the help of our draftniks, Dan Lavoie and Andrew Griffin. When four stud defensive players went off the board in the first five picks, we began to discuss other defensive prospects. We quickly dismissed Rashad Gary. Montez Sweat and Brian Burns entered the conversation, and Dan ranked Burns ahead of Sweat, but then Burns came off the board at eight.

With every offensive tackle still on the board (fans rarely value the unsexy picks), Dan and Grif agreed that Jawaan Taylor was the best fit of that group. I asked Grif to make the case for Taylor:

“Considering our o-line lacks definitive starters at tackle, Taylor would come in and be the final cog,” said Grif. “He’s pro-ready. Protecting Josh Allen has been the goal of the offseason, and there will be fewer instant starters at RT later in the draft.”

We ranked Taylor ahead of Sweat without any disagreement, but all of it was academic once we put the final two prospects next to each other. Dan and I both had Hockenson at the top of our big boards. Looking at the depth at tight end, Grif wasn’t sold on a top-9 pick at the position, but the ability to help quarterback Josh Allen in multiple ways was the deciding factor.

“There are plenty of right tackles in the draft, but very few complete tight ends,” noted Grif when the decision was made.

Hock can block very well, aiding the running game and staying in to max protect for Allen deep shots. He can also be the safety blanket underneath and on the outside. He has really good speed. He’s a dynamic player and at only 21, could still add some size to his frame. He’s super-competitive, a trait head coach Sean McDermott is sure to love.

Speaking of McDermott, he’s been mentioning tight ends all offseason as a position that is valuable.

Buffalo will look to add a right tackle, defensive tackle, and pass rusher using their next few picks, but with the addition of Hockenson, Buffalo’s offense will be completely revamped to help Allen succeed.

You can hear more in my podcast reaction:

Our scouting reports on Hockenson:

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