Dillon Radunz NFL Draft Profile
With the countdown to the draft officially in single digits, the pecking order is starting to take shape. What we know about this class of prospects is that the offensive tackle, corner, and wide receiver classes are particularly deep. This is great news for teams like the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams because those align with their positional needs.
Dillon Radunz is an offensive tackle prospect out of North Dakota State. He would have been a three-year starter for the Bison had their 2020 season not been canceled due to the pandemic, although they were able to play one exhibition game against Central Arkansas. He ended up starting 32 consecutive games for the FCS powerhouse and was a consensus All-American in 2019. He initially committed to North Dakota State as a defensive end but was a two-way starter in high school, and obviously ended up sticking on the offensive side of the ball.
After the 2020 season was canceled/finished, Radunz trained with former San Francisco 49er legend Joe Staley. He helped prepare Radunz for the Senior Bowl, where Radunz was named the overall practice player of the week.
Another fun fact about Radunz: he hasn’t lost a football game in over five years.
That being said, let’s get into his profile.
Dillon Radunz NFL Draft Profile
Top Three Player Traits
Awareness And Football IQ
Radunz is one of the smartest offensive linemen in this incoming class, and he brings outstanding awareness to the table. One of the most underrated aspects of playing along the offensive line is a player’s ability to communicate and be aware of what’s happening around them. These are traits more commonly associated with centers because they are the ones who set the protections and communicate those protections to the rest of their linemates, but the other four players also need to communicate effectively in order to block effectively.
That was a big issue with the Chargers last year, especially when Bryan Bulaga was injured. When he was on the field you could always see him motioning and communicating with the younger players along the line. It was a big benefit to Cole Toner in particular, who was arguably the best interior offensive lineman on the team. Radunz has a little bit of that to his game as well. The communication with whoever was lining up next to him was always there.
The awareness aspect comes into play when the opposing defenses throw stunts or games at the offensive line. Radunz picks all of them up rather effortlessly, and will even get two for one blocks quite frequently. These situations point to his preparation and intelligence as a player.
I wrote last week about Alex Leatherwood having the most explosive feet out of his stance, but Radunz absolutely has an argument for second in that regard. The difference is that Radunz seems to know how to use that ability at a higher level. He’s able to take great angles as a pass or run blocker that set him up for success. He is not the most powerful blocker, but he fires off the ball which allows him to get a head start against his opponents. He is able to use that explosiveness effectively out in space as well, making a strong impact on the perimeter on screen passes, and wide zone runs.
Diversity As A Pass Blocker
Technically speaking, Radunz belongs in that second tier behind Rashawn Slater as the most technically sound offensive tackles in the class. If you’ve been reading these profiles, you’ve seen this listed as a trait to improve upon for almost every offensive lineman that I have written about. Radunz is not perfect, but this is absolutely a strength for him.
He loves to mix up his pass sets between a quick set, angle set, or traditional deep-set. All three of these have their own advantages but it’s important to note that Radunz is proficient at all three. Slater is really the only other player who can say the same.
Radunz is also able to win in a variety of ways with his hand placement. He possesses the requisite power to make a strong two-handed strike when necessary, he can use his 34-inch arms to keep rushers at bay with a long arm technique, and he’s able to be patient and then chop their arms down. All of these things will absolutely benefit Radunz once he gets to the league because he just needs to fine-tune his technique instead of overhauling it.
Top Three Traits To Improve Upon
The biggest concern that teams will have with Radunz is his lack of functional strength. He has got to hit the weight room hard and fill out the rest of his frame. Some analysts have suggested that he start his career at right tackle while he continues to grow into his 6’6 frame. However, almost every NFL team has two high-level pass rushers on the field at all times. To me, Radunz is a left tackle and that’s where I want him to start his career. He also showed several times at the Senior Bowl that just because he’s on the lighter side, doesn’t mean he can’t handle power rushers. He might struggle as a rookie, but it won’t be because he isn’t strong enough. (This clearly isn’t a huge concern for me, but I had to address it.)
One of the biggest things that will help young offensive linemen play at a consistent level is staying on balance, and not getting over their toes. Basically, you don’t want to see an offensive lineman on the ground unless he is burying an opposing rusher and lands on top of him. This was the most frustrating thing about watching Sam Tevi on a weekly basis. It seemed like he fell over at least 15 times a game.
Radunz isn’t on that level, but he does play off balance a little too frequently at times. He should be able to fix this issue by filling out his frame and becoming more experienced at the position, and it did seem like he made real progress on this front at the Senior Bowl.
This last one really comes down to personal preference. Some people like their left tackles to be patient and react to what the defense is giving them. I tend to prefer them to be more aggressive and attack their assignments, as long as it’s under control of course. This is why I’m such a big fan of players like Teven Jenkins.
Radunz shows glimpses of being this kind of tenacious player, and he certainly finishes blocks well, but I just want to see it more often. For most of the games that I watched, he was more of a reactive player than he was proactive. I’m not asking to change his entire plan of attack, I just would like to see him be a little more consistently aggressive.
Ultimately, I’ve got a high second-round grade on Radunz and have him as my seventh-best offensive tackle in the class – just behind Liam Eichenberg and ahead of Leatherwood. He could sneak into the first round if there is a little run on tackles, or if someone views him as a higher ceiling player in comparison to Eichenberg or safer than a player like Samuel Cosmi. If the Chargers do pass on an offensive tackle with the 13th overall pick, landing Radunz in the second round would be the best-case scenario there. I would absolutely consider trading up to go get him just to be safe.