Temple Owls

Temple's Dion Dawkins drafted by Bills in 2nd round as versatility pays off

The Buffalo Bills selected Dion Dawkins in the second round of the NFL draft with the 63rd overall pick on Friday.

Joining teammate Haason Reddick (see story), Dawkins is the second Temple player to be selected this draft.

Dawkins started at left tackle for three years at Temple, but in the Senior Bowl in January he moved to guard and was named the top offensive line performer by Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage.

"At the end of the day, I'm a football player," Dawkins said at Temple's pro day last March. "I can be listed as a center, a guard or a tackle because teams need offensive linemen with versatility."

The Bills traded their third-round pick (75th overall) and two fifth-round picks (149th overall and 156th overall) for the Atlanta Falcons' second-round pick, where they nabbed the Temple product. Dawkins becomes the first offensive lineman drafted by the Bills since they selected John Miller in the third round of the 2015 draft.

Dawkins could be a Day 1 starter at the next level and block in front of former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who finished sixth in rushing yards last season with 1,267 on 5.4 yards per carry.

Before Dawkins was drafted, he faced some adversity entering Temple like Reddick. 

Dawkins didn't have many options coming out of Rahway High School in New Jersey. He was committed to Cincinnati but pulled his commitment after it didn't offer him a full scholarship. 

Dawkins played at the Hargrave Military Academy in 2012 and then joined Temple for the 2013 season. He was one of four true freshmen to start at left tackle in the NCAA in 2013, including Laremy Tunsil, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft. Dawkins played in five games and started in two that season until breaking his foot.

But, Dawkins rebounded and went on to protect Phillip Walker's blindside for the next three seasons to finish out his career at Temple.

"With doing both positions, it's a better chance for teams to have guys they fall back on," Dawkins said. "If a tackle goes down, and I'm the starting left guard, then they can move me to left tackle or right. And I plan on learning every position so I can remain in the NFL for as long as possible and be a great player."