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I spent this past week down in Mobile, AL for the Reese’s Senior Bowl, a prestigious college football all-star game, where over a hundred of the top senior prospects showcase themselves in front of a crop of NFL personnel.
I was fortunate enough to sit down and talk to former North Dakota State offensive tackle Dillon Radunz to pick his brain and get an inside look at his mindset going into this year’s draft.
Height | 6-5
Weight | 304
While Radunz needs to get better at finishing blocks, he has the athleticism, range, foot quickness and run-blocking temperament needed for the NFL. With Los Angeles, Radunz is capable of playing either tackle or guard. While he develops more mass and add bulk to his frame, his skillset suggests high potential.
Round Projection: Early-Mid Round 2
North Dakota State OT Dillon Radunz (6-6, 300, Sr.) is impressive. He shows lots of intriguing traits. Intensity as a run blocker and plenty of tools as a pass protector. pic.twitter.com/KV5hCiFmR0
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) August 27, 2020
One of the best Oline prospects in 2021 is North Dakota State T Dillon Radunz. He’s everything you want in your O-Line, he definitely brings that toughness to your team! @DillonRadunz pic.twitter.com/E5UjST5ct6
— Robert Cardona (@CARDONAFAM29) May 26, 2020
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) May 27, 2020
Great rep by NDSU OL Dillon Radunz. #SeniorBowl
Movement ✅ pic.twitter.com/782WDYOSfR
— Christian Page (@_ChristianPage) January 28, 2021
How’s your time been like at the Senior Bowl?
Overall, it’s been fun. I’ve been dying to play football since Oct. 3. It’s competitive, and every time I get done with practice I’m like, “I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow!” My body is sore, but overall it’s been a blast.
You only played one game this past season due to COVID-19. What did you do to keep your body in shape and who did you work with?
Like you mentioned, we only played one game, which was unfortunate. To stay in shape, I pushed my conditioning and my body to get stronger and more durable, so that way when I do go into a regular season I’ll be stronger and more durable than I was before.
I went to California and started training with Joe Staley and his weight trainer. I was able to gain a lot of strength and a lot of football IQ, on and off the field from Joe and how the league operates. Worked with him and started Combine training in January in Irvine, CA and still had him as a coach.
Draft OT Dillon Radunz and Spencer Brown with their trainer Joe Staley. From my viewing, these two guys are better than most of the bigger school guys. pic.twitter.com/YUcJBbAh73
— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) December 17, 2020
Describe the mentality of North Dakota State that’s helped them become one of the most dominant programs.
The mentality is that we are going to bring it to whoever walks through the program and develop them into better men, not just better football players. It’s all about selfless leadership. We are going to take care of each other, push each other and give 100% each time, and that’s how we’ve become so successful.
You played left tackle in college, but got some reps this past week at left guard. What suits you better?
I want to be a left tackle because that’s where I’m most confident. But some teams want to see what I can do inside, which I have no problem with. Ultimately, I want to play a significant role early on in my professional career. I know it’s a team sport, so wherever I’m going to have the most impact, that’s where I’m going to play.
How do you handle speed differently than power?
Ultimately, it’s get in your spot. With speed, I was born with it, so it helps. For me, it’s moving my feet and extending my arms. In regards to defending power, I have great hip bend and I’m able to arch my back. However, I realize that I won’t be able to do that all the time. However, I’ve been fortunate to learn from Paul Alexander to help me develop my technique and work on that combination.
Do you have a preferred pass set?
An angle set. It’s basically an aggressive pass set on a 45-degree angle, where you have a balanced set and punch from your back. With a vertical set, you better have strong hips and a strong anchor. With a jump set, you need to have quick feet. I choose to be in between those.
Whether it was at the Senior Bowl or throughout your time at North Dakota State, who are some of the best pass rushers you’ve gone up against?
There were a lot of them at the Senior Bowl, by no surprise. In college, Ron’Dell Carter out of James Madison University was really good. Elerson Smith, who’s here at the Senior Bowl, was a good challenge when I played him while he was at University of Northern Iowa. He bulked up, so he’s quite a bit stronger now. Other than that, Khalen Saunders, who now plays with the Chiefs, was another tough matchup.
Who are some offensive linemen that you like to model your game after?
The three that I model my game after would be Joe Thomas, Taylor Lewan and David Bakhtiari.
I’m curious, is there an NFL quarterback who you’d love to block for?
Buccaneers’ Tom Brady, for sure. I jumped on the bandwagon when I was in seventh grade.
What kind of impact is Dillon Radunz going to make at the next level?
I’m going to bring team chemistry. That’s the way that I believe teams win Super Bowls. I want to instill that so that way the team is firing on all cylinders. That’s what I want to bring to others and myself, so that way whatever they ask of me I am going to do at a high level and it’ll ultimately resonate with others. Team chemistry. I think that’s what makes teams great. At the end of the day, I’m going to protect my teammates, love the fans, and give back to the community.