Kansas State’s Dalton Risner isn’t supposed to be an offensive tackle in the NFL. The modern NFL’s archetype would say that he’s too short and too light to play on the edge against NFL defenders.
But don’t tell Risner that, it probably won’t end well for you.
While it’s true that Risner falls outside of the prototypical NFL thresholds for a highly-drafted offensive tackle, and his Combine measurements will likely have many projecting a move to guard. But even so, that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the top tackles in his draft class. Risner has spent the last three years lining up at right tackle in the SEC and he emerged from the Senior Bowl as one of the big winners against a talented defensive roster.
As it so happens, the New York Giants are in fairly desperate need of an upgrade at right tackle, and Risner could be just the man for the job. But can he convince Dave Gettleman overlook the tale of the tape and draft against his own tendencies?
- Powerful tackle. Good leverage, technique, and natural strength let him punch above his weight class.
- Good hand usage. Locks on and consistently trying to control
- Mean, angry, nasty blocker. Constantly looking for work, blocks through the whistle, and finishes plays.
- Long arms and big hands.
- Consistently able to re-anchor against power.
- Rides speed rushers around the pocket.
- Doesn’t panic and give up inside counters.
- Good awareness of stunts, twists, and blitzes. Rarely caught off-guard.
- Could be projected to any position on the offensive line.
- Has some lower-body stiffness.
- Kick-slide could use some work.
- Occasionally lets his hips and pads rise, negating some of his power and natural leverage.
- Height and weight might fall below some team’s thresholds.
- Will be 24 at the start of his rookie season, could be older than some teams would prefer.
(Risner is the right tackle, number 71)
What They’re Saying
“Dalton Risner is a prospect that will draw evaluations across the entire offensive front. Risner played Center in 2015 before starting his final three seasons at Tackle. Risner possesses requisite length to play Tackle in the NFL and would be a most attractive fit in a WCO style passing offense that implements gap/power concepts to make the most of his power at the point of attack. Risner could easily step inside and play on the interior but regardless: a Day 1 starter.”
- Kyle Crabbs (The Draft Network Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
The Giants absolutely need an upgrade at right tackle, and if they don’t find one in free agency, Dalton Risner should be high on their list of prospects.
Dave Gettleman has historically favored offensive tackles with exceptional size, length, and strength in the past, and Risner doesn’t stand out at 6’4”, 308. Those numbers will, in all likelihood, project him as a guard for a number of teams. That might not even be a waste of a move, as he has experience playing inside and has all the strength, leverage, and hand usage needed to hold up against NFL defensive tackles.
But in practice, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be considered as a tackle in the NFL.
Risner’s footwork needs polishing, as he has a false-step in his pass sets and uses more of a shuffle than a kick-slide. But he still manages to be effective against players like Montez Sweat or Charles Omenihu thanks to his hand usage, play strength, and leverage. Trying to bull-rush Risner is a fool’s errand and he excels when it comes time to open holes in the running game. He should be able to play in both man-gap and zone blocking schemes at the next level. And despite his flawed footwork, he doesn’t panic when faced with speed and is generally able to usher defenders around the pocket.
But what stands out most about Risner is the sheer “nasty” with which he plays. He is an angry bulldog of a blocker who is constantly looking to finish plays and let defenders know he is in the game. The Giants have one player like that in Will Hernandez, and adding a second is not a terrible idea.