The Bills added a field-stretching tight end with their third-round selection of Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox on day two of the 2019 NFL Draft. Buffalo traded picks No. 112 and 131 for Washington’s No. 96 pick to acquire Knox.
Here are five things to know about the newest Bill.
1. Former quarterback
Before going to Ole Miss, Knox spent his high school career as a 6-foot-4, 208 pound dual-threat quarterback for Brentwood Academy in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Knox received offers from Air Force, Austin Peay and Cornell but decided to forgo a career as a signal caller and become an uber athletic tight end instead.
The only verified results from his high school days was a 4.85 second 40-yard dash time. At his pro day for Ole Miss he ran a reported 4.57.
2. Graduated early
Knox had a year of eligibility but decided to not play his senior season and declared for the NFL draft instead. Knox, who didn’t score a touchdown in his college career, still decided to enter the draft.
“I graduated in December and had my degree with a major and a minor," Knox said. "I knew that I had enough on film to kind of show that I could compete against anybody; no matter who's covering me, I can create separation. When they threw the ball to me, I caught it. I was able to get my blocking technique down to where I could move guys off the ball at any level, which was a big thing for me because coming in as a quarterback I had no idea how to actually move somebody.”
“But I felt comfortable with that. It was just a lot of research, a lot of prayer,” Knox said. “And I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I came back and had some type of freak injury that prevented me from playing at the highest level, which I know I'm capable of.”
3. Walk-on at Ole Miss
Knox went from college walk-on to NFL draftee in just three years.
Knox injured his ankle his senior year of high school and went to Ole Miss as a tight end prospect. He redshirted the 2015 season and added about 40 pounds to his frame, making him the 6-foot-4, 258 pound player he is today.
He proved his worth to the team with 15 receptions for 284 yards and a ridiculous 18.9 yards per catch this past season.
"A lot of guys don’t have to go into college knowing that they have to earn every single thing,” Knox said. “And I just had to go in with the mindset that I am going to outwork everybody because no one was going to give me anything. No one expected me to be a good player off the bat. So I was able to turn some heads that way. Keep grinding. Don’t let anyone get between me and my goals. So it worked out pretty well.”
4. Compared to Kyle Rudolph
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein thinks that Knox can be the next Kyle Rudolph.
Zierlein thinks Knox already carries an NFL-caliber frame and is describes as a “workout freak-daddy” with good explosion and speed numbers. Knox is flexible in his hips and can sink low or expedite whip routes.
As a blocker, Knox has accurate, heavy hands at the point of attack and looks to bury his man every time he goes for the block. He punches with good extension in pass protection and gives good effort to stay in front or rusher, Zierlein adds.
5. Played with other draftees
Knox’s numbers don’t jump out on the page but that’s because he was playing in an offense with other day two picks including A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf as wide receivers.
“Going into the season, I was hoping that it would help me a little more than it did,” Knox said. “I was like, ‘I got three potential first-round guys — definitely two or three top-two-round guys around me — they’re gonna be doubling those guys, so surely I’ll get the ball more.’ But it was still fun playing with guys of that talent.”
With the 2019 NFL Draft officially underway, follow along with the Buffalo Bills to find out which players the team selects. Bills draft coverage is presented by ECMC.