One of the Holy Grails of the NFL Draft, and of NFL team building in general, is finding value at premium positions. It is a tremendous advantage when NFL teams are able to find long-term starters after the first round at positions like quarterback, cornerback, or EDGE.
Or at offensive tackle.
Most top offensive tackles are drafted highly, in the first round, and in the top half of the first round. With NFL defenders getting more athletic and defenses getting more sophisticated, teams need a rare skillset to hold up on the edge. But when a team can find that caliber of blocker after the first round, it’s as good as gold.
North Dakota State left tackle Dillon Radunz isn’t widely known at the national level, despite starting 33 straight games for the preeminent power in the FCS. That likely started to change in the wake of the Senior Bowl, but his profile still isn’t as high as prospects from the big Power 5 schools.
The New York Giants, meanwhile, still have questions along their offensive line. Hopes are high for Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart, but their development is not yet assured. If the Giants could find a long-term starter outside of the first round, it could go a long way toward finally solidifying their offensive line.
Radunz doesn’t have the physical or athletic makeup of an exciting and high draft pick, but that could just mean some team is going to get a fantastic value.
Prospect: Dillon Radunz
Games Watched: vs. Northern Iowa (2019), vs. South Dakota (2019) vs. Central Arkansas (2020)
Best: Technique, play demeanor, consistency, competitive toughness
Worst: Lacks elite measurables, level of competition
Projection: A starting offensive tackle with scheme diversity.
North Dakota State left tackle Dillon Radunz is an experienced lineman, starting 33 consecutive games at left tackle over the course of his college career. Radunz combines solid measurables with solid athleticism and polished technique and is effective in both pass protection and run blocking.
Radunz shows good flexibility, settling easily into his stance with good hip and knee bend after the snap. He consistently plays with good leverage as a blocker, rarely letting his knees straighten and hips rise — even in prolonged plays.
Radunz is patient and balanced as a pass protector, with a smooth, easy kick-slide that allows him to gain width or depth to his pass sets as required. He has the ability to mirror most speed rushers off the edge as well as anchor — or re-anchor — against power rushers. Radunz has similarly good hand usage, bringing a ready punch that frequently gains inside leverage on pass rushers. Radunz works to gain control over blockers and sustains his blocks throughout the snap.
Radunz is a mauling run blocker who plays with great competitive toughness in the running game. He shows the ability to effectively block in both man-gap and zone schemes, with the play strength to generate movement on power runs and the movement skills to execute zone blocks.
He also shows the ability to work to the second level on both running plays and in screen plays.
Radunz plays with great competitive toughness regardless of the type of play. He works to sustain his blocks through the echo of the whistle and looks to finish his blocks with the defender on the ground.
Radunz has adequate size and athleticism to play offensive tackle at the NFL level, but lacks truly “elite” physical traits. He can struggle against particularly long or higher end speed rushers or to anchor against truly powerful defenders. Radunz can also be inaccurate when asked to make cut blocks or blocks in space against more athletic linebackers.
Overall Grade: 8.0 - Radunz lacks elite measurables but should be a reliable starter early in his career.
Dillon Radunz projects as a starting offensive tackle at the NFL level. While his collegiate experience is at left tackle, I don’t see a reason why he couldn’t line up on the right side at the NFL level.
He is a reliable pass protector, playing with good leverage and technique, fluid movement skills, and great competitive toughness. Radunz should be able to match up well with the majority of defenders he will face. He has a smooth, balanced kick-slide that lets him play with urgency without ever appearing panicked. He is also a good run blocker who can win — or at least stalemate — in both power and zone running schemes. Radunz has good play strength and great competitive toughness. Radunz always executes his assignments, blocks through the whistle, and looks for work when he doesn’t initially have anyone to block. He is also a very smart blocker and is rarely surprised by stunts, twists, or blitzes from the defense.
Radunz lacks truly stand-out “elite” athletic traits and measurables, and that could cause him to slip below some teams’ radar. Particularly if they have concerns over defenders with truly elite traits. That being said, he should have a very short learning curve in the NFL thanks to his experience and polished technique.
While Radunz isn’t an exciting prospect — he is far from the biggest, longest, strongest, or most athletic tackle prospect — he seems like the kind of player the Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers draft after the first round and becomes a 10-year starter.