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2021 NFL Draft Scouting Spotlight: North Dakota State OT Dillon Radunz

An FCS left tackle with NFL starter potential.

In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills will be turning over every stone to find the right players to upgrade their roster. It won’t be easy, given that almost all of last year’s second-seeded squad is returning for another season. One outside possibility in the first round could be an offensive lineman. The Bills had solid results from the group last year, but there were times (especially with run blocking) where they could’ve used more production. One player to consider for upgrading that department? North Dakota State tackle Dillon Radunz.


Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State) Scouting Report

  • Measurables: 6’6” 301 lbs
  • Career stats: 33 games played, 32 starts
  • Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Pro day testing: 5.16 40-yard dash, 32” vertical jump, 112” broad jump, 7.26 three-cone drill, 4.57 short shuttle, 24 bench press reps

Summary

Dillon Radunz (RAID-inz) is an intriguing “small school” left tackle with a combo of size, athletic ability, and technical skill that could turn him into an NFL starter. He redshirted his first season with the Bison, then suffered a season-ending knee injury after 15 snaps of the next season. Radunz recovered from there to start 32 consecutive games for the rest of his college career. When evaluating Radunz, you have to keep in mind both the lower level of competition (NDSU plays in the FCS and pretty much steamrolls the competition most years) and the fact that COVID-19 essentially cancelled his 2020 season (Radunz was able to play one game).

Radunz measured at 6’6” and 301 lbs, with 34” arms at his pro day. Those are numbers that should be able to play left tackle, though teams have thought about having him move to guard or possibly even center. He’s willing to make versatility a trademark, but listed at 298 lbs in college, it’s fair to wonder if Radunz does have the frame to pack on weight and play guard.

Though not every play looks pretty with Radunz, he brings 100 percent each time and makes it work. He sometimes struggles with speed, but plays with great awareness of his teammates and defenders and does his part to help the play succeed. He’s been compared with eight-year veteran Billy Turner of the Green Bay Packers, and that career arc would certainly be worth an early pick.

Strengths

  • Always looking for work, comfortable switching assignments mid-play
  • Great tenacity to recover and finish blocks even if he has a bad start to the play
  • Comfortable pulling to the edge or moving up to the second level to make blocks in space
  • Does an excellent job of keeping his butt pointed at the QB when pass blocking
  • Excellent ability to anchor down and end a bull rush
  • Impressive measured athletic ability

Weaknesses

  • Could improve hand placement on blocks, sometimes winds up in holding territory
  • Struggles to cleanly kick slide against speed rushers
  • Concern about adjusting to level of competition in the NFL
  • Quotes from scouts about subpar practice habits

Draft projection: Late first round to second round


Why he fits the Bills

The Bills have all five OL positions under contract for 2021, but after the season ends, many of their deals can be scrapped for minimal cost. A versatile lineman who could be a starting right tackle or guard, with the ability to play left tackle when the situation required it, would fit the bill. Radunz could potentially be an improvement as a run blocker to what Daryl Williams brings to the offense, without sacrificing much of his pass-protection talent.

There’s some concern with Radunz playing away from left tackle for the first time in his career, as well as the adjustment to NFL level competition after playing for an FCS school. Luckily, the Bills can afford to redshirt him as a rookie.