The Buffalo Bills have exercised their due diligence in scouting a multitude of receiving prospects for quarterback Josh Allen. That includes at tight end, where the Bills are actually fairly thin with just Dawson Knox and Quinton Morris. It might not seem like an immediate need given the contract they recently handed out to Knox, but adding another developmental tight end to the mix could allow offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to implement some deep wrinkles in the playbook.
ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler revealed this week that Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker will visit the Bills as part of their top-30 pre-draft visits. The 2023 NFL Draft is rich in tight end talent, and Schoonmaker represents someone Buffalo’s front office could look to add during the middle rounds of the draft.
Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker has pre-draft visits with #Bills, #Broncos #Bucs #Jets and #Lions, per source. Schoonmaker a key part of a deep tight end class.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 10, 2023
Schoonmaker, 6’5” and 251 pounds, isn’t known for his explosive athleticism and didn’t produce tons of stats at Michigan. What he did provide, however, was a well-rounded skill set as a key role in the Wolverines’ offense — often as a sixth offensive lineman for the team.
Luke Schoonmaker profiles as an inline-Y tight end in the NFL, but one that brings a potentially deceptive ability as a receiver. With his efficiency as both a receiver and blocker, Schoonmaker could carve an important role for a team that wants to add skill players who can take on defensive linemen and overpower linebackers. That’s not to undersell his potential as a receiver — for he has been a reliable target when called upon. But to reach his full potential, the role of downfield receiver is something he will likely have to work on at the next level. That’s primarily due to a lack of opportunity, at least until his fifth-year senior season when he hauled in 35 passes for 418 yards with three touchdowns.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein compares Schoonmaker to Dawson Knox, which seems fair in many aspects. But it remains to be seen if Schoonmaker carries the same type of athleticism as Knox who, at times, has been one of Allen’s favorite red zone targets.
Luke Schoonmaker is a compelling idea as a developmental option at tight end for the Buffalo Bills, though he may be best-served joining a run-oriented team. Drafting him wouldn’t mean the room gets immediately better or more diverse, but he would represent solid potential as a willing blocker whose ceiling could be in the mold of the Bills’ current TE1. The concern is whether that ceiling is too lofty a goal for a player who’s already 25 years old.