It’s been nearly a week since the Buffalo Bills season ended abruptly. There is no need to spend a lot of time discussing the wild card game against the Texans, as I’m sure Bills fans have relived the game in their mind over and over again. So, I’m going to talk about something completely different. Rather someone, who could be an under the radar breakout player for the Bills in 2020.
Dawson Knox had an up and down rookie season, which was filled with some good moments and some bad ones too. The third-round pick finished the season with 28 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns. Believe it or not, Knox finished second among all rookie tight ends in yards, only behind the first-round pick of the Denver Broncos, Noah Fant (he finished with 562 yards).
For Knox, his best football is yet to come. This week’s Thursday Thought: Dawson Knox will break out in 2020.
The Bills offense as a whole struggled in 2019 in a lot of areas, one of which being at tight end. All season long the Bills got very little from their tight ends in the passing game whether it be Knox, Tyler Kroft or Lee Smith. If the Bills could get more out of their tight ends in 2020 it would do wonders for them.
Knox has elite athleticism for the position. His testing results showed this during the pre-draft process. He had a 34.5 inch vertical and 4.54 40-yard dash which is well above average for the position. It makes sense considering he was being compared to the likes of Kyle Rudolph and Travis Kelce.
As for Knox’s rookie season, he showed promise and areas where growth is needed. While he had a lot of explosive plays (averaged 13.9 yards per reception) he had a big issue with drops. He finished the season with ten drops and a 20 percent drop rate. This has to change moving forward as drops were the biggest detriment to Knox’s rookie campaign.
However, something Knox is very good at is his blocking. Throughout the offseason and regular season players and coaches gushed over his ability to get in the trenches and do battle. Blocking is the one thing that as a tight end, it will get you on the field.
Knox has got some work to do this offseason, there is no question about it. The drops need to stop, and he needs to become a better route runner. However, for someone who six years ago was a quarterback, the progress is legit. He’s got elite athleticism and appears to be someone who will work his tail off to get better.
For an offense that needs playmakers and mismatches, having Knox take a big step forward would be huge for the Bills offense. Hopefully, Knox can live up to the lofty comparisons that he received before the 2019 draft. Maybe he’ll show that he can next season.
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder