Buffalo Bills Potential Prospects (2023): TE
The Buffalo Bills have tried to run two-tight end sets for many, many years now. From O.J. Howard to Jacob Hollister to Tyler Kroft, they have tried but utterly failed. Now, if the Bills really want to make this work, they could draft a tight end this year. After all, the 2023 TE class is loaded with talent. Let’s take a look at some of those prospects.
Michael Mayer (Notre Dame)
If the Buffalo Bills want to draft a TE in the first round, Michael Mayer is one of their best options. Totaling 809 yards and nine TDs last season, Mayer showed he can be a great receiving option on a team that has Josh Allen at the helm. In three years at Notre Dame, Mayer finished his career with 2,099 yards and 18 TDs on 180 receptions. Standing at 6’4”, 249 pounds, Mayer fits as both a blocker and a receiving threat, and could actually force Buffalo to play someone else as the sixth blocker as opposed to a backup offensive lineman like Bobby Hart.
Darnell Washington (Georgia)
My favorite TE in this class. Darnell Washington is a huge 6’7”, 264 lb TE who is fantastic as a blocker and can make an impact in the receiving game as well; he totaled 454 yards and two TDs on 28 receptions in 2022. While he won’t wow you as a receiver, but the Bills don’t need that while they still have Dawson Knox, who had a fantastic 2021 season. Washington seems to fit best as a red zone threat, either as a blocker or a receiving threat, as we won’t see too much production from him as a TE1 early in his career. But it’s his size and physicality is what will make him a first or a second-round pick.
Sam LaPorta (Iowa)
Another tight end who an intriguing prospect is Sam LaPorta. LaPorta had an excellent 2022 season, racking up 657 yards and one TD on 58 receptions. He also only gave up one sack and one pressure as a pass protector. Standing at 6’3”, 245 lbs, LaPorta isn’t great at sustaining blocks when asked to protect, but he is fantastic after the catch. As a result, LaPorta has the makings of being a starting TE in the NFL, and can be a great option next to Dawson Knox for years to come. He is projected to be selected on Day Two.
Josh Whyle (Cincinnati)
Josh Whyle also brings some size with him, as he is 6’6”, 248 lbs. Whyle will be best in the receiving game (for now at least), as he is still developing as a blocker. His hands, body control, ball skills, and YAC (yards after catch) abilities are some of his top traits that make him such an intriguing receiving threat. However, he was never really that big of a threat in the receiving game in college. In four years at Cincinnati, Whyle totaled 1,029 yards and 15 TDs on 86 receptions. If the Buffalo Bills decide to wait until the mid rounds to get a TE, specifically round four, Whyle may be the best available pick. And considering his potential, it would be a great pick for Buffalo.
Payne Durham (Purdue)
Payne Durham has improved as a receiving threat from his freshman year to his senior year, statistically improving in every category. As a senior in 2022, Durham finished with 560 yards and 6 TDs on 56 receptions. However, he is not the most athletic tight end in terms of getting yards after the catch; he lacks speed, explosiveness and fluidity. On the contrary, one of his best attributes is blocking, as he brings a lot of competitiveness and toughness. Standing at 6’6”, 253 lbs, Durham will be a good red zone threat in the NFL, and projects to be a TE2. According to The Draft Network, “although his ceiling is not high, Durham has a solid/safe floor”. He projects to be a later-round pick.
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