Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has a solid background working with tight ends at the NFL level. As a member of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff, he coached the team’s tight ends for three years. In his time with New England, he worked with recently retired future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, who put up 154 catches for 2,300 yards and 23 touchdowns in the first two seasons Daboll was on staff.
It should come as no surprise that the Bills have overhauled their tight-end grouping since Daboll came to Orchard Park to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator. This year, the Bills have only one tight end on the roster who predates Daboll’s time with the team, and the team even invested two draft picks at the position. The Bills haven’t drafted one tight end since 2015 (Nick O’Leary), and haven’t drafted two in one draft since they selected Bobby Collins and Sheldon Jackson in 1999.
In today’s installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile the second of the tight ends taken by Buffalo this April—a gritty player who could make the roster as a versatile backup.
Name: Tommy Sweeney
Height/Weight: 6’5” 251 lbs.
Age: 24 (25 on 7/1/20)
Experience/Draft: R; selected in the seventh round (228 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Bills
College: Boston College
Acquired: Seventh-round draft choice
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Sweeney’s rookie contract is a four-year pact worth a total of $2,616,184. Of that total, $96,184 is guaranteed. If Sweeney makes the 53-man roster, his 2019 cap hit stands to be $519,046.
2018 Recap: Sweeney capped off a productive college career with a solid, if unspectacular, senior year. He caught 32 passes for the Eagles, totaling 348 yards and three touchdowns. That brought his career totals to 99 catches, 1,281 yards, and ten touchdowns over his four years. Sweeney was second on the team in receptions, third in receiving yards, and tied for third in receiving touchdowns in 2018, earning First-Team All-ACC honors in the process.
Positional outlook: Sweeney has plenty of competition for a roster spot, including two other rookies, third-round pick Dawson Knox and UDFA signing Nate Becker, as well as 2018 holdover Jason Croom, and free-agent signings Tyler Kroft and Lee Smith. Keith Towbridge was claimed off waivers by the Bills in June, as well.
2019 Offseason: Sweeney has participated in all offseason activities to date. When Kroft and Croom missed time during minicamp, he worked with the first-team offense fairly often, switching in with Knox. While Knox received most of the praise, Sweeney showed himself to be a capable safety net for quarterback Josh Allen.
2019 Season outlook: Much of what happens at the tight-end position depends on Kroft’s recovery from offseason foot surgery. If he begins the year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, then Sweeney has a great chance of being among the top-four healthy tight ends on Buffalo’s roster, and an outside shot at working into the top three. If Kroft is healthy, Sweeney probably finds himself on the outside looking in—though it’s possible that he could find himself in front of Croom. The Bills have some decisions to make at the position, but the problem of having too many talented players is a good problem to have.