Tight end has always been a position of neglect for the Buffalo Bills. While the team thought that Charles Clay would be the dynamic playmaker they’ve never had at the position, circumstances and Clay’s knees never allowed that to materialize.
With the position having undergone a complete overhaul this offseason, the Bills have a few different “types” of tight ends on the roster. They have agile receiving types, they have traditional “hard-nosed” types, and they have the old-fashioned “blocking specialists” on the roster, as well.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile one of those blocking specialists.
Name: Nate Becker
Height/Weight: 6’5” 264 lbs.
Age: 23 (24 on 3/24/20)
College: Miami (OH)
Acquired: Signed with Bills on 6/5/19
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Becker is set to make the league minimum, $495,000, this season if he sticks on Buffalo’s 53-man roster. There are no guarantees in his contract, so if the team cuts him, there will be no cap penalty for doing so.
2018 Recap: Becker had his most productive collegiate season last year, catching 13 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown. That brought his career totals to 19 receptions, 209 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. To repeat, he was used primarily as a blocking tight end, so catching the ball was not his main job.
Positional outlook: Becker faces stiff competition for a roster spot, as the Bills added two free agents (Tyler Kroft and Lee Smith) to go along with two draft choices (Tommy Sweeney and Dawson Knox) at the position prior to the opening of minicamp. They also claimed Keith Towbridge off waivers for his second stint with the team. Jason Croom is the only tight end on the roster who played a regular season game with the club last season.
2019 Offseason: Becker has participated in all offseason activities to date. While fellow rookies Knox and Sweeney worked with the first team during minicamp, Becker did not.
2019 Season outlook: Becker feels like a guy the Bills will try to keep on the practice squad this year. If his blocking is as good as advertised, they can try to stash him as insurance against an injury to Smith. Even if Tyler Kroft is out for the beginning half of the season due to the broken foot he suffered during OTAs, Becker is probably on the outside looking in, as Knox, Smith, Croom, and Sweeney all have a leg up on the undrafted rookie. A strong preseason could earn him a spot on the practice squad, though, which is probably his best shot at sticking with the Bills.