The Ole Miss Rebels were chalk full of talent in their receiving corps in 2018 with D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown expected to be first day options in the NFL Draft. One player who might fall under the radar, because the Rebels had other high-level outside targets, is their junior tight end Dawson Knox.
NAME: Dawson Knox
SCHOOL: Ole Miss
POSITION: Tight End
WT: 250 lbs
Knox is another weapon in a loaded tight end class that the Dallas Cowboys could make use of for 2019 and beyond. Knox, a former walk-on at Ole Miss, was vastly underutilized on a team that had plenty of NFL caliber playmaking talent so it could be a rare case where he ultimately needs to go to the NFL to fully realize his potential.
It wasn’t until his redshirt sophomore season that Knox was even able to see the field. This past year, Knox only caught 15 passes in nine games and never recorded a single touchdown. And yet, he has all the tools you’d want at the position despite still being very raw.
Knox recorded 39 receptions for 605 yards in essentially two seasons in Oxford. He has the potential to make his mark in the NFL but he will need to catch on with the right team at the right time to be moulded into the receiving threat that many believe he can be. The Cowboys could be that team if they’re interested in another tight end that they have to develop.
The Rebels used very basic route concepts for Knox so his route running is a bit of a question mark. Figuring out how to get the best out of him in the route tree is something that a NFL team will need to work on with him. He has an explosive get off and gets up the field rather quickly which can give linebackers and safeties a bit of an issue when covering him.
The Cowboys, more than anything, are in need of a tight end who can get up the seam rather quickly, which is right in Knox’s wheelhouse. The idea here would be to design plays that get Knox up the seam and let the young man work.
His hands are not an issue. Knox has the ability to catch the ball even with defenders draped all over his back. He uses his big physical frame to seal off defenders to prevent them from breaking up the play. Knox has a huge catch radius so as long as the ball is near him, he can make a play on the ball.
Along with his routes being a question, so too is his ability to make contested catches. With very little opportunity, Knox can’t be counted on to make those plays regularly until you see it happen in a game scenario consistently. Mostly, Knox just lacks repetition and experience as a go-to option.
Dawson Knox will also need to refine his blocking technique. He needs to work on identifying and getting to his defender and driving him off the line of scrimmage. He does well enough to get the job done, but at the NFL level he will need to make more of an impact in the run game with his blocking. Has the size to get the job done but will need to be coached up to get his game up to speed at this facet.
All in all, Dawson Knox has the ability you look for and can make an impact as a tight end at the NFL level. Knox mostly just needs a staff to work with him in a few areas. He is projected as a day two tight end in this class which means the Cowboys should have a crack at him depending on if they go with a tight end in the early rounds.
His lack of production might hurt him a tick, but he seems well worth the price of admission for a team willing to tandem with him to put in the work.
Should the Cowboys look to strike gold again with an SEC TE like Dawson Knox or should they try to aim for a player who was more productive in college? Share your thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.