Name: Dalton Risner
SCHOOL: Kansas State
CONFERENCE: Big 12
POSITION: Offensive Tackle
JERSEY: No. 71
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 308 lbs
Pass Protection – Power rushers get nowhere against Risner, as he consistently drops anchor and fights off bull rushes. Can occasionally lean a tiny bit in pass protection, as I saw him push-pulled once against Texas (Charles Omenihu) and once against Mississippi State (Montez Sweat, snatch move). Mostly flat-backed and under control as a pass protector, shutting out Jordan Brailford and winning all but one rep against Sweat. Mirrors inside moves extremely well and is careful not to overset. Speed rushers will be somewhat of a concern unless his footwork improves, hasn’t seen many pure speed guys in college, but was exceptional at pushing blitzing defensive backs and linebackers up the arc.
POA Run Blocking – Mauling mentality. Fights for position at the point of attack and will seal off rush lanes inside as needed. On the edge, doesn’t settle for stalemates and hinge blocks, instead widening his opponent to the boundary to create a bigger lane inside. In most cases creates movement that does more than just occupy a defender. Can get a little top-heavy as a vertical blocker and overextend. Has a lot of the proper tools for zone schemes, but needs to improve footwork and gain more ground to scoop his opponent on the first step. Ran mostly inside zone and gap/power principles at Kansas State.
Functional Strength – Doesn’t look like the biggest offensive lineman, but functional strength is top notch. Creates unbelievable amount of torque to ragdoll defenders and open up lanes. Bullies everyone from defensive tackles to defensive backs. Leg drive is constant. Will be interesting to see how he handles 0-1 techniques if he does move to the interior in the NFL.
Pass Pro Footwork – Easily the biggest area of weakness in his game. I don’t know how he thrived in college while consistently false-stepping in his pass set, but he did. False steps with his set foot (outside foot) and will actually slide his post foot first, nearly clicking his heels together as he sets up the arc. Does a good job avoiding crossing his legs, but shuffle slide will have to become a more efficient movement if he stays at tackle. Mostly vertical sets at Kansas State, will need some work on consistently establishing half-man on 45-degree sets to be an NFL tackle.
Strike Timing/Placement – Exceptional with his hand usage in every way. Does an excellent job of timing his strikes as a pass protector, using one-arm stabs and quality punches to the chest of his opponent to stun rushers. Re-sets his hands consistently to mirror defender’s movements and maintain control while keeping his feet active. Gets his hands inside to shut down bull rushers completely. In the run game, works hard to control opponents’ frames and will wrench them around with unbelievable grip strength.
Leverage – Always leveraged with his hands, but pad level overall can be inconsistent. Makes up for high hips with incredibly leveraged and efficient hand work, coming up under the pads of his opponent to lift and negate their power. Can roll off contact at times because of being too upright. When his pad level is right, results are devastating. Can expose some surface area with upright pass sets, but does such a good job defending his frame with his hand usage that the tendency is rarely a concern on tape.
Space Blocking – Adept puller who explodes out of his stance and gets on his horse to eliminate the MDM (most dangerous man). Arrives to targets generally under control and shows strong mitts to latch and seal off rush lanes. Can get through gaps and down to the second and third levels as a puller. Also does an excellent job coming to balance in space before mirroring defenders trying to slip around him and finishing. Identifies over-aggressive EMLOS as a puller, will adjust his angle and kick them up the field.
Competitive Toughness – Unbelievable tenacity and nastiness in the trenches. Plays every snap as hard as he possibly can, often looking to finish and consistently talking trash after the play. Brings an edge to the offensive line that coaches will love. 3-time team captain. From what I could find, believe he only missed one game in his college career. Played through injuries to both shoulders and a high ankle sprain as a RS Junior.
Mental Processing – Has some of the best mental processing I’ve ever scouted in an offensive lineman. Ability to adjust on the fly as a run blocker and pass protector is uncanny. Picks up late pressure, passes off stunts, picks up twists, all with incredible ease. Timing and technique are flawless in this regard. Understanding of proper spacing and depth from his right guard is elite. Communicates to his unit post-play on things they’ll need to adjust to. Started 13 games at center his redshirt freshman year, and due to smarts and communication ability, that might be where teams want him in the NFL.
Athleticism/Size – Doesn’t have the length most NFL teams will want on the outside, but carries very little bad way and shows the functional strength to start right away on the interior. Athletic mover in space who was asked to execute a lot of tough assignments due to his movement skills.
BEST TRAIT – Hand Usage/Strikes
WORST TRAIT – Footwork
RED FLAGS – Had left shoulder surgery after the 2017 regular season. Will be a 24 year-old rookie.
Dalton Risner has been one of the better offensive linemen in college football for a long time now, largely due to his masterful hand technique and punishing demeanor. Extremely physical and aggressive, Risner has started three straight seasons at right tackle for Kansas State, locking down every type of rusher and hardly ever losing a 1v1 matchup. In the run game, he brings power and technique, while also being able to get out in space and make high degree of difficulty blocks on a per game basis.
Yes, Risner doesn’t see elite competition off the edge in the SEC, but he locked up Montez Sweat pretty good when the two met in September. I think Risner’s pass set issues and lack of length (more of a concern for the NFL, not me) will be negated somewhat by moving inside, where his functonal strength and brawler’s mentality will also be welcome. Versatility, smarts, communication ability and pro-ready technique will be strong selling points for a player who should be a top 60 lock this spring.
PROS: Pass protection is as consistent and sturdy as they come. Positive technique in pass sets with good pace and explosiveness. Aware and experience, will allow defenders to overrun arc and easily ride them too deep into the backfield. Easily processes stunts and will power down against inside moves. Strong anchor, will give minimal ground even against linebackers blitzing from depth. Stonewalls bull rushes. Violent initial punch with incredible power in his upper body.
Mobility in slide protections will give him projections into a variety of schemes. Lateral quickness allows him to easily reach in the run game. Strong latch onto defenders allows him to drives them off the spot. Dominant on double teams, using his physicality and leg drive to move defensive lineman. Finds holes as a puller, reacting well and sifting through bodies. Flashes of dominance as a puller when he can build up speed and open gaps. Loose hips and mobility allow him to position his frame and force defensive ends through him. Immediately works to replace hands and run defensive lineman off as they attempt to block destruct.
CONS: Though Risner is generally able to drive defenders in the run game, he is susceptible to the late shed when defenders can work through counters. His effort is there to clean this up, but longer defensive lineman have had more success keeping Risner’s physicality at bay.
Steady and mobile in pass protection, but get the sense that he is not an elite athlete and will be a bit older upon entering the NFL. Like a plug and play right tackle at the next level who may take bumps and bruises as he adjusts to the athleticism of NFL edges.