It is possible that Kansas State tackle Dalton Risner will still be on the NFL Draft board on Friday morning. But it’s not likely, as most mocks have Risner landing somewhere in the later third of Thursday’s first round.
But what can fans of the team which snags the guy who has received recognized first-team All-American honors two years in a row expect from the 6’5”, 312-pound behemoth?
First, the scouting report. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com suggest the most comparable NFL player to Risner is Chicago Bears center Cody Whitehair, and it’s an amazingly apt comparison. Whitehair, of course, is also a former Wildcat, and he played alongside Risner for one year with Risner at center and Whitehair at tackle.
That indicates a couple of things: one, Risner can potentially move back to the middle of the line if needed, although Zierlein thinks he’s best suited to play at guard; two, any player who’s being compared to a guy who’s started all 48 games of his three-year NFL career is someone you want around.
Risner is also durable. K-State played 51 games in his four years of eligibility, and Risner played in every single one, starting 50.
Risner grades out as the third-best prospect in the draft at tackle, one of only three carrying the coveted 6.0+ grade. His grade is the 28th-highest of all prospects in this year’s draft, which jibes with his late-first round projection.
One drawback scouts note about Risner is that he lacks the raw athleticism one would expect from a top-level prospect. However, they also note that he has fantastic instincts, form, and technique. Risner is also adept at reading the field, and picks up blitzes well. He rarely gets beaten, even holding his own against SEC rushers when he’s faced them. What flaws he has could well be ignorable if he moves back inside.
As a person, Risner will be a PR godsend for the team that selects him. He is bright, articulate, a great interview, and most importantly dedicates his off-field time to service. Risner has been running his own non-profit foundation for a couple of years already, and seems to pop up at some children’s hospital every time you turn around.
And it’s genuine. Take it from the staff of this blog: everyone who’s met him says he’s a great guy.
He’s also already got his coaching certification, and was named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete last year as well as being named to the 2018 AFCA Good Works team. This is a well-rounded guy, both on and off the field.
Will he be K-State’s first first-round selection since Josh Freeman in 2009? We’ll see.