North Dakota State offensive tackle Dillon Radunz definitely had his NFL Draft stock rise during Senior Bowl week and the LA Chargers should be paying attention. He won the Overall Practice Player of the Week award from the Senior Bowl’s coaching staff. You might know who won last year’s award:
Congratulations to North Dakota State OL Dillon Radunz on being named the “Overall Practice Player-of-the-Week” at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Last year’s winner was LA Chargers QB and NFL Rookie-Of-Year Justin Herbert. ? #TheDraftStartsInMobile pic.twitter.com/gqUdJCaHxb
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) January 30, 2021
Of course, having a good week at the Senior Bowl doesn’t mean that Radunz will end up with the Chargers. There will be 31 other teams who could potentially draft him. But Tom Telesco has shown how much he values good reps and performance at the event though.
Four out of his six draft picks in last year’s draft played in the 2020 Senior Bowl. Justin Herbert won both player of the week and Senior Bowl MVP. Joshua Kelley, K.J. Hill, and Alohi Gilman were also in Mobile.
Per Chargers Wire’s Gavino Borquez, Radunz did meet with the Chargers at the Senior Bowl.
Dillion Radunz’s LA Chargers draft profile:
Radunz is a 6’6″ 300-pound tackle from North Dakota State. His stock rose from his 2019 season, which led some to believe he could play himself into being a first-round pick in the 2021 draft.
Unfortunately for Radunz, COVID-19 happened and the Bison only were able to play a single game against Central Arkansas. That’s why this week was so important for teams getting to know him as a prospect.
The run game is such a big strength for Radunz. This week at the Senior Bowl you saw him get really aggressive with players off the line. He also didn’t allow a sack in his 2019 season and had over 60 knockdown blocks. He kept NDSU quarterback Trey Lance as clean as a whistle.
He could also stand to gain some mass to add to his leverage at left tackle. If he puts on another 10-15 pounds at the NFL level, it could really be a struggle for opposing defensive linemen to get by him.
Some of Radunz’s springy athleticism comes from the fact that he was originally recruited as a defensive end. It wasn’t until the coaches saw him in practice that they decided to convert him to the offensive line. His power at the point of attack is decently strong partially due to the fact that he’s an EDGE in a tackle’s body. It certainly has helped him with technique.
Where the Chargers could land Radunz in the draft is still in flux. Some have second-round grades on him, others have late firsts. All it takes is one general manager to take him a little bit earlier than many analysts think he might go. With the 45th pick in the draft, the Chargers still have a decent chance to acquire Radunz there.
It also wouldn’t surprise me if Telesco has to trade up a bit into the early second round to go and grab him though. The Chargers have the necessary capital to do this with two extra draft selections this season.
Radunz would likely sit for a little while if he is drafted by the Chargers. In theory, Telesco could build an offensive line with Radunz and Bryan Bulaga on the outside with some improvements on the interior.
Perhaps in this scenario, the Chargers go with Alijah Vera-Tucker or Wyatt Davis in the first round to complement the pick. Joe Thuney and Corey Linsley will also be available in this free-agent class.
While Radunz might need some time to get acclimated to the NFL game from the FCS level, he’s no Trey Pipkins. He’s not a project that you’re unsure about, which is why he’ll go decently high in the draft. If he had started a full season in 2020, I don’t think we would be talking about him sitting for any period of time to start the season.