clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2022 NFL Draft: Backing up Knox at TE

Two-tight-end sets on the horizon?

When the Buffalo Bills drafted Dawson Knox in the third round during the 2019 NFL Draft, it was expected the team had finally solved the floundering production of their tight end position. While Knox’s first two seasons in the league were slight disappointments thanks to injuries and stretches of ineffective play, in his third year Knox finished with 587 yards and nine touchdowns. It seems that the soon to be fourth-year player’s struggles are behind him, and he is now cemented as the team’s starter moving forward.

However, general manager Brandon Beane’s recent comments regarding utilizing two-tight-end sets (in a recent interview on WGR550 in Buffalo) indicate that he may think the team is better served having two effective players at the position outside of just Knox. As such, he might turn to the draft in order to search for some reinforcements, or even some upgrades, at the position. Below are a few of the players the Bills might consider.

Tier I

Greg Dulcich (UCLA)
Trey McBride (Colorado State)

With good size, strong hands and more than adequate speed, there aren’t many downsides to Dulcich’s game. He needs to improve his blocking, but he has experience there. As such, there’s reason to think he could be an immediate contributor. He’s not as flexible or as dynamic in the open field as Dulcich, but McBride is also a capable blocker and flashes some insane catches on tape. Overall though, it’s hard to classify him as a real ‘threat’ in the passing game that a defense would need to account for.

Tier II

Jeremy Ruckert (Ohio State)
Cade Otton (Washington)
Jelani Woods (Virginia)
Jalen Wydermyer (Texas A&M)

Perhaps the best blocking tight end in the class, Ruckert has a good amount of athleticism on top that—he just wasn’t used much by Ohio State and is underdeveloped because of it. Otton has struggled with drops in his career—it will be interesting to learn of his hand size— but he flashes great effort as a blocker and his straight-line speed as a quick option in the passing game is intriguing. As was shown recently at the combine, Woods has a great amount of upside and smooth catching ability. His lanky frame and lack of core strength hold him back from being a better run and pass blocker, however. When watching Wydermyer run routes, the descriptor “lumbering” comes to mind. He’s not dynamic there, but in a straight line and with the ball in his hands he can surprise defenders.

Tier III

Isaiah Likely (Coastal Carolina)
Daniel Bellinger (San Diego State)
Grant Calcaterra (SMU)

There’s been a fair amount of Charles Clay comparisons with Likely who, despite a smaller stature, blocks well in certain situations and can move around the formation to exploit specific matchups. The proverbial height/weight/speed prospect this year, Bellinger needs some seasoning in most of his game. Calcaterra is a smart, savvy safety-blanket receiving option, but concussions caused him to quit football for a time, so it’s uncertain if teams will want to risk a draft pick on him.