2021 NFL draft prospects: North Dakota State OT-OG Dillon Radunz

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Eric Edholm
·5 min read
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Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

North Dakota State OT-OG Dillon Radunz

6-foot-6, 304 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.85 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Impressive FCS tackle-guard prospect who is athletic and plays hard, but he didn’t quite dominate on that level the way you might expect

Games watched: Delaware (2019), Illinois State (2019), Southern Illinois (2019), Central Arkansas (2020),

The skinny: A zero-star Rivals recruit out of rural Minnesota, Radunz received only two FBS offers: Mizzou and Wyoming. Instead, he chose FCS-powerhouse Bison in the middle of their incredible run of championships. He sat out as a redshirt in 2016 and played 15 snaps in the 2017 opener against Mississippi Valley State before suffering a season-ending knee injury. In 2018, Radunz won the left tackle job and started all 15 games and earned second-team all-conference mention. As a 16-game starter at left tackle, he was named first-team AP All-America and first-team Missouri Valley Conference honors in his junior season. FCS canceled fall football in 2020, but Radunz started the Bison’s one “showcase” game against Central Arkansas last year before attending the 2021 Senior Bowl.

Upside: Nice athlete who stands nearly 6-foot-6 with an 80 1/4-inch wingspan — almost looks like a jumbo tight end in pads.

Pro-day testing numbers put that on display, namely with a 4.53-second short shuttle, a 7.27-second 3-cone time, the vertical jump (32 inches) and the broad jump (9-foot-4) — all in the top 15th percentile. Also good results in the 40-yard dash (5.11 seconds) and on the bench press (24 reps).

Plays hard and tough. Shoots out of his stance and operates with a defensive mentality. Delivers a nice punch to open up contact — works hands independently and gets them inside. Engages his hips and works from the bottom up. Tough to bully.

Should factor into man- and zone-blocking systems — handled both well in college. Can pull out into space, attack on the move and bury smaller defenders in space. Gets his feet squared up before he strikes. Loves riding defenders out of the screen.

Successful pass blocker — allowed only 24 pressures on 715 career pass-blocking snaps. Effective cut blocker. Operated in a diverse offense that combined pro concepts with spread-option elements. Could be a five-position projection or ideal sixth OL to start — has practiced at almost every OL spot and took a few snaps at center in games.

Played guard and tackle at the Senior Bowl and generally performed well — good win rate in one-on-one pass rush drills and a few flashes. Athletic and smart enough to handle just about any job given to him.

Mature and grounded. Strong character. Knows what it takes to win — was part of program that went 33-0 and won two national titles with him in the lineup and led his high school to back-to-back state titles his final two years.

Downside: Less-than-ideal arm length (33 1/4 inches) and hand size (9 1/8 inches). Has a lean base in need of some physical development, but his frame might be close to maxed out. Could be a guard on some teams’ boards.

Needed to put on weight before Senior Bowl to cross the 300-pound mark — not a lot of sand in his pants. Arrived at the program in the 260s and will always require effort to keep weight on. Was at 301 for his pro day.

Lower-body anchor and strength are concerns. Plays too upright, which neutralizes his best asset. Also will lunge and dive on straightforward run plays and can whiff on initial contact. Will hop out in his stance and overset in pass protection. Only so experienced at taking true pass sets despite starting for two-plus seasons. Will bend and mistime his punch. Power players could overwhelm him at the point of attack.

Athletic traits don’t always translate on the field. Didn’t consistently dominate and overwhelm FCS competition. Can be seen losing ground as a pass blocker to quick edge rushers — might never have ideal recovery quickness to seal the edge. Struggles with inside moves and lets defenders cross his face.

Plays hard but one scout told us he might need to learn better preparation leading up to games. Played in only one game the past year after FCS football largely shut down.

Best-suited destination: Radunz is a more accomplished run blocker than pass protector at this point, so he’d fit best with a multiple scheme such as the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots or Cleveland Browns than as a left tackle expected to pass block 40-plus snaps a game right away. Others might view that differently, and some teams will pencil him inside in the NFL.

Did you know: Radunz and his two siblings (sister Danielle and younger brother Nick, who joined the Bison as a guard last year) lost their father, Jeff, when Dillon was 10.

“I almost had to step up to be the man of the house, which was difficult since I was still in middle school,” Radunz said in 2019.

Dillon honored his late father with a tattoo on his right shoulder and continues to do so before games.

“I’m down on a knee, talking to my dad,[and I] kind of look up and try to imagine in the stands and feel his presence there somewhere,” he said.

Player comp: Minnesota Vikings 2020 second-rounder Ezra Cleveland.

Expected draft range: Top-75 pick who could go somewhat early on Day 2.