Bills zero in on players who offer experience and consistency
April 29, 2017 01:00 PM | Chris Brown

For NFL scouting departments it's a player's body of work that helps them make confident decisions. For the Bills they had more experience and production to work with in each of their first three draft selections than perhaps any other NFL club. Buffalo's Tre'Davious White, Zay Jones and Dion Dawkins have a combined 128 collegiate starts between them. It's given Bills head coach Sean McDermott a lot of reassurance that he has players who will be ready to perform at the NFL level.

"That's huge," said McDermott of the lengthy resumes of his newest players. "You look at the consistency with that, being on the field, the ability to sustain success. The consistency and the ability to sustain success is all part of it when you're investing in a player."

White was a four-year starter making 47 starts at LSU. Jones logged 41 starts in his time at East Carolina and Dawkins racked up 40 starts as a four-year starter at Temple.

All those snaps and repetitions executing their assignments has made Buffalo's newest players more seasoned than most rookies.


"Tre'Davious - four-year starter, available on the field as a starter in terms of being healthy," said McDermott. "With Zay: started a number of games, history of catching the football. There's consistency. I love those hitters that I know are going to get on base. We're going to the ballpark and they're going to get on base."

Buffalo has invested in mature college players, who have developed themselves into well-rounded performers.

"I work to perfect my craft," said Jones. "Something I keep near and dear to my heart. This is how I make a living and I don't take my craft lightly. I am a precise route runner and that is something that I take great pride in. I have always worked to perfect my game and get better. So I am excited for the next step."

"I wanted to become a more complete player and I wanted to mature as a person," said White of returning for his senior year at LSU. "I knew last year as a 20-21 year old that I wasn't ready for the lifestyle of an NFL player. I wasn't going to be able to balance the two, so I needed that extra year to just enjoy myself with my friends and just mature as a player."

That maturity has also enabled Buffalo's picks to diversify their personal games. White played in the slot, on the boundary and at safety in his time at LSU. Jones lined up all over East Carolina's offensive formation playing outside and in the slot. And Dawkins lined up at offensive tackle, but can also play guard. The more you can do coming to the NFL level the more likely you are to get on the field sooner rather than later.

Jones and White are both 22-years old. Dawkins is 23 after playing a year at prep school before enrolling at Temple. All part of making all three attractive options for the Bills.

"That you can balance the academics and the athletics and all that goes into that in the college setting and perform at a high level on the field, and then remain humble enough and carry yourself with class to do the right thing," McDermott said. "That's important to us in this organization."

Dawkins did have an off the field incident, but the Bills did their due diligence in investigating the lineman's background. Climbing 12 spots on the board to take Dawkins was sufficient evidence that the Temple product checked out.

As productive, experienced and versatile as these players might be their humble mindset has them coming to One Bills Drive expecting nothing and ready to work to carve out a role where they can contribute.

"I'm just planning on taking one step forward at a time," said Dawkins. "I'm just going to do whatever needs to be done to become a starter."

"They have that type of DNA over the course of their careers in college where they've earned everything that they've gotten," McDermott said of his three new players. "I'm sure they wouldn't expect anything but that."

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