Today we’re going to continue with the ongoing ‘top five’ theme here on Bills Beat. Next up: tight ends. The tight end position is a peculiar one in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise. This is where the true NFL historians come out to show themselves. Though there have been several solid players at the position, none of them have ever managed to become household names like the all-time greats (Winslow, Newsome, etc.). The lack of separation between one player or another also makes this list difficult to create in precise order. But I’m going to attempt. Without further ado, the top five tight ends in the history of the Bills.
5. Paul Seymour
Paul Seymour was a member of the Bills between 1973 and 1977, a period in which the team struggled greatly. 1974 is the lone season the team made the playoffs during Seymour’s tenure. In that playoff game, a 32-14 loss to Pittsburgh, he hauled in two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Oddly enough, he was later traded to Pittsburgh but never played a single down for them. After a failed physical, the Steelers sent him back to the Bills. He would never play in the NFL again.
Seen more as an additional blocker than a high-impact pass catcher, Seymour never hauled in more than 19 receptions in a given season. He was highly regarded coming out of college where he played for the University of Michigan, being drafted as the seventh overall pick by the Bills in the 1973 NFL Draft. And though he had moments of excellence as a professional, he never quite lived up to his first-round status.
4. Reuben Gant
For a few years of his career, Reuben Gant served as Paul Seymour’s backup at the tight end position for the Bills. Gant would still prove to be the more productive pass catcher of the two, taking the starting position for himself between 1978 and 1980. His five touchdowns in 1978 were the most of his career. A first-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State University, he was selected 18th overall by the Bills in 1974. At 6-4, 230 lbs, he had physical dimensions that made him a versatile option. If need be, he could play wide receiver as well as playing the tight end position.
3. Dawson Knox
Dawson Knox is proving himself to be an important part of the Bills’ current offensive structure. Still just 25 years old, Knox has a lot of career left and there’s no telling where his peak will be. His nine touchdowns in 2021 are a career-high to this point. He serves as a large body in the passing game, proving to be a handful for opposing defenses who already have to worry about Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. His work to address pediatric cancer is also worth mentioning, as it shows the guy’s heart and mind are in the right place. No small thing when building the mentality of a winning football team.
2. Pete Metzelaars
Pete Metzelaars was a longtime member of the Buffalo Bills who was most notably a part of the four-time AFC champion Bills teams of the early-‘90s. The stats were never all that impressive with Metzelaars, but he proved to be quite venerable as the years wore on and he remained a solidified part of the offense. He scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XXVI in the 37-24 loss to Washington. Of all the tight ends in the history of the franchise, he was the one chosen as the first-string tight end on the Buffalo Bills 50th Anniversary Team in 2009.
1. Ernie Warlick
Ernie Warlick gets the nod as the greatest tight end in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise. Though Warlick played just four seasons in the AFL, he was a four-time AFL All-Star and a two-time AFL champion. Before his time with the Bills, “Big Hoss” was a member of the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders and was a three-time CFL All-Star selection.
His talent and athleticism were through the roof. Amazingly, he averaged over 20 yards per catch for the Bills in 1963 and 1964. He scored the first touchdown in the 1965 AFL Championship game, which turned out to be a 23-0 victory over San Diego. Aside from his ability as a pass-catcher, he was also an excellent run blocker for Cookie Gilchrist.
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