#18 Dalton Risner, Offensive Tackle, Kansas State
The most versatile offensive lineman in this draft is Dalton Risner. As a redshirt freshman, he started at center, then moved to right tackle for the next three seasons and ended his career at Kansas State as a three time first Team All-Big 12 player and an All-American. Risner’s versatility, performance and his ability as a run blocker make him a top prospect in the Draft.
Risner possesses excellent body control, which helps him swing his hips around defenders and control them. He is consistently able to get his backside between the defender and the ball carrier. This in turn creates clean rushing lanes and he is strong enough to prevent defenders from collapsing those same lanes. Risner’s best qualities in pass protection are his ability to look for work and pick up stunts. When he has no one to block in pass protection, he will look to help his teammates and put defensive linemen on the ground. He also possesses great feet and hands that allow him to pass off and pick up defensive linemen when they run stunts.
Risner needs to cut down his stride length when kick sliding in pass protection as often times he will click his heels and get caught with a narrow base, which leaves him susceptible to a good bull-rush. Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat took advantage of this a couple times when they squared off. Risner has a tendency to turn his shoulders too quickly and this could lead to him getting beat with inside stick moves in the NFL. Ultimately, I see Risner as an above average pass blocker and a great run blocker in the NFL. He projects to be a plug and a starter on day one at any position along the offensive line.
Fit with the Raiders
After trading Kelchi Osemele to Jets, the Raiders have a hole to fill at guard. Risner could fill that hole if he is still on the board at picks 24 or 27. In addition, Risner could serve as an insurance policy for Oakland at right tackle tackle. The Raiders last year’s first round pick, Kolton Miller, struggled in his rookie year. To Miller’s credit, he dealt with an abundance of injuries, but it might not be a terrible idea to have a back up plan. Risner will probably be off the board by the time Oakland picks late in the first round, but if he slides, he’s certainly worth a look.
The Vikings ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards and a large part of that was due to their offensive line. Risner’s abilities as a run blocker would be an immediate improvement for Minnesota. The Ereck Flowers experiment didn’t work out for the Giants and Nate Solder didn’t meet expectations in year one of his new contract. Risner could be the tackle New York has been looking for over the last few years. Duane Brown turns 34 in August and Germain Ifedi is entering a contract year; the Seahawks shouldn’t risk heading into 2020 needing to two offensive to, so it would be smart of John Schneider to draft Risner one offseason before it’s too late.