The Buffalo Bills executed plenty of trades in the 2017 NFL Draft. The first trade was a trade back in the draft, and the second was an aggressive move up the board. We’ve talked ad nauseum about the player selected at Buffalo’s original spot in the first round of the draft, as the Kansas City Chiefs selected Patrick Mahomes at No. 10 overall. We also know about the trade-up that led to the Bills selecting wide receiver Zay Jones. Less is said, though, about the picks that led to choosing Buffalo’s third player of the Draft.
Buffalo traded three draft picks—No. 75 overall, No. 149 overall, and No. 156 overall—to the Atlanta Falcons in order to move back into the second round of the draft. The Falcons chose linebacker Duke Riley, cornerback Damontae Kazee, and running back Brian Hill with those picks. The Bills selected a franchise left tackle.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile that second-round pick—a player who has become the cornerstone of Buffalo’s offensive line.
Name: Dion Dawkins
Height/Weight: 6’5” 320 lbs
Age: 27 (28 on 4/26/2022)
Experience/Draft: 5; selected by Buffalo in the second round (No. 63 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft
Acquired: Second-round draft choice
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Dawkins inked a four-year contract extension last year worth a total of $58.3 million. In 2021, he sits atop Buffalo’s cap structure as the player with the largest cap hit for the year at $11.395 million. If Buffalo were to release him, the Bills would be on the hook for a dead-cap charge of $21.68 million.
2020 Recap: Dawkins had another stellar campaign protecting Josh Allen’s blindside. He committed only four penalties that were accepted last year, the lowest total since his rookie year in 2017. He allowed six sacks on the season while earning a 78.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. Dawkins was one of three players (along with Allen and right tackle Daryl Williams) to surpass 1,000 offensive snaps, coming in third of the trio with a total of 1,032 snaps on the year. It was the first time since the 2018 season that Dawkins did not catch a touchdown pass, as well.
Positional outlook: Dawkins is the unquestioned starter at left tackle. The other tackles on the roster are Daryl Williams, Spencer Brown, Tommy Doyle, and Bobby Hart. Ryan Bates, Jordan Devey, Cody Ford, and Jamil Douglas are all listed as offensive linemen, so they’ll be competing for roles at multiple spots.
2021 Offseason: Dawkins is healthy and attending OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: “The kid from Rahway” has done well for himself, earning a huge contract extension and his place among the better offensive tackles in the game. Dawkins is a great athlete, a feisty leader, and a great protector for The Franchise. It’s always nice going into a season knowing that the left tackle spot is expected to be a strength. Dawkins is a strong player who improves every year. It’s easy to root for someone like him.