(Stats Perform) - In playing the "Madden NFL" video game, Dillon Radunz has found himself filling his team's roster with former North Dakota State teammates. The left tackle jokes about how he's anticipating drafting quarterback Trey Lance in the future as well.
It may occur sooner rather than later.
Radunz, a fifth-year senior, is projected to be selected in the early rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft next spring. Lance could go in the first round if he makes an early entry into the draft as a third-year sophomore.
Radunz will play his final college game when the Bison host Central Arkansas in their only fall game on Saturday. It also could be Lance's final game.
"In all seriousness, he's a great guy. I'm excited for the future for him," Radunz said during an NDSU video conference Monday. "I'm excited to watch him ball out in this game this week and I'm excited to block for him. It's definitely been an honor."
The NFL Draft buzz surrounding Lance has come much sooner than what Carson Wentz received for most of his North Dakota State career, and the Philadelphia Eagles used the second overall selection on him in the 2016 draft. Lance, who swept the Stats Perform Walter Payton (FCS offensive player) and Jerry Rice (freshman) awards last season while leading the Bison to their third straight FCS championship, has been deflecting the NFL attention.
"Everything is all hypotheticals at this point, so I'll let (the media) talk about the NFL and everything like that," he said. "That's not my job right now, my job right now is to lean on my teammates and win another game here at North Dakota State."
Second-year coach Matt Entz said he and assistant coaches have talked to "five or six" NFL general managers about Lance. The Bison have a strong history at quarterback: Wentz was followed into the NFL by San Diego Chargers quarterback Easton Stick, whom Lance backed up in 2018.
Wentz and Stick spent five seasons at NDSU, including a redshirt year. If the 6-foot-4, 226-pound Lance enters the 2021 draft as an underclassman, he would have to file paperwork with the league by mid-January.
"As I told him before, he's our first-round (player) and he's our first pick in the draft, too," Entz said.
Lance said he would not announce any decision after the Central Arkansas game, saying, "I'm not going to let anything take away from the guys here."