While the Buffalo Bills may have revamped their offensive line, they haven’t moved on from all of the front-line players of last season. Whether those players will remain in the same positions they were last year, or if they’ll remain starters anywhere along the line, is yet to be determined.
With all of the change up front, there’s only one man expected to reprise his starting role on Buffalo’s offensive line this season. In our latest edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile that man.
Name: Dion Dawkins
Height/Weight: 6’5” 320 lbs.
Age: 25 (26 on 4/26/20)
Experience/Draft: 4; selected in the second round (63 overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2017 NFL Draft
Acquired: Second-round draft choice
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Dawkins enters the third year of his rookie contract, a pact that totals $4,183,239 over four years. In 2019, Dawkins carries a cap hit of $1,140,883, and the Bills would be responsible for a dead-cap number of $591,178 if they were to release or trade him.
2018 Recap: There’s no way to soften it—Dawkins simply had a brutal second year in the league. While he started all 16 games for the Bills at left tackle, he struggled mightily. He was third in the league in accepted penalties against, as he took 11 penalties for 91 yards. If you add in the three penalties he was called for that were declined, he was second overall in the NFL in penalties against. He also allowed eight sacks in what was a far weaker season than his rookie campaign.
Positional outlook: Dawkins finds himself in the middle of a rooms with lots of new faces this year. Holdovers Jeremiah Sirles was sent to IR on July 23, so Conor McDermott remains the only lineman Dawkins has played alongside so far in his young career. The team added LaAdrian Waddle, Ty Nsekhe, Isaac Asiata, and Cody Ford as new competitors for roster space and starting gigs. The team lists De’Ondre Wesley as a tackle, but he has mainly played guard this summer.
2019 Offseason: Dawkins has participated in all offseason activities to date, and he has been the starting left tackle for all of them.
2019 Season outlook: Buffalo’s brass clearly wants Dawkins to be the starter at left tackle, and we should assume that he will be until proven otherwise. With the depth the team has added at tackle, it can afford to bench Dawkins if he continues his poor play from 2018—Nsekhe has experience at left tackle and is a fantastic athlete, so he can slide over in a pinch with Waddle or Ford manning right tackle—but the Bills would obviously prefer that Dawkins just plays more like he did in 2017 than he did in 2018. The left tackle spot is his to lose.