Round 2: Kansas State RT Dalton Risner
6-4, 312 – Senior
Previous Pick: Boston College G Chris Lindstrom
After selecting a premier pass rusher to bolster the Bucs defense, Tampa Bay addresses its offensive line in the second round with the selection of Risner, a physical, blue collar right tackle, who can transition inside to play guard, too. Risner was a two-time captain at Kansas State and a consensus All-American at right tackle.
Gifted with an infectious personality, Risner was an outspoken leader for the Wildcats and is a self-made player with a tremendous work ethic. After starting his career as a center during his freshman year, the 6-foot-5, 312-pound Risner moved to right tackle where he was a fixture for the Wildcats over the next three seasons, helping power K-State’s ground attack.
“I think I proved it in college,” Risner said. “I played center my redshirt freshman year. I played left tackle my senior year of high school. I played right tackle my last three year. If in the NFL I’m a guy that stays at right tackle, that’s fine. I think I’m able to have the strength to be able to go inside. I’m not a 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8 guy. When you are that tall, you are pretty much stuck at tackle. But when you are 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, you can be a tackle, or you can move inside and be a center and guard. I have the height and weight to be able to move all across the line.”
That versatility is so enticing to a team like Tampa Bay, which had a formal interview with Risner at the NFL Scouting Combine.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) February 28, 2019
The Bucs have an immediate need at right guard and also at right tackle as the team needs a successor to Demar Dotson, who has manned the position for a decade. Risner has been a longtime favorite of Pro Football Focus, who has labeled him as one of the premier right tackles in college football over the last two years. Some NFL teams feel he’s better suited to play inside as former Kansas State left tackle Cody Whitehair did transitioning to center for the Chicago Bears, who drafted him in the second round in 2016.
“I feel real good at right tackle,” Risner told PewterReport.com at the Senior Bowl. “If a coach says, ‘Dalton, you’re a center or left guard,’ hey, I’ll go play that as well. I feel real good at right tackle right now. I like the arm length I have for defensive ends, the strength and the way I’m able to move. That’s where I feel comfortable.”
In Tampa, Risner could challenge Dotson for the starting right tackle job as a rookie, or challenge Alex Cappa at the right guard position in 2019. Drafting a player that has position flexibility could be a huge asset for the Bucs in 2019 and beyond. A tandem of Cappa and Risner could help solidify the right side of Tampa Bay’s offensive line for years to come.
Risner had a really strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. While his 5.3 time in the 40-yard dash didn’t wow scouts, he showed off his athleticism with 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump and a 4.52 time in the 20-yard shuttle, which were among the best times in Indy for offensive linemen.
One of Risner’s biggest selling points is his community service mindset. An energetic, mild-mannered guy off the field, the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year finalist is a beast on the field.
“I want the scouts to look at me and say, ‘Who’s that guy with something up his butt?” Risner told PewterReport.com at the Senior Bowl. “That guy looks pissed off. He’s trying to finish guys in the dirt. That’s what I’m here for. That’s why I’m here and that’s who I am and that’s what I bring to the table. I hope I do it with good technique. I’m going to be trying to finish guys and I want coaches to look at that and say we can build a culture around that guy.”
Risner has been featured as a late first-round pick in many mock drafts, but he could very well slip to the second round because while he’s an effective blocker, it isn’t always pretty. Risner is more of a physical mauler than a technician, and will get knocked by some teams for his style of play. Check out Risner’s highlights against Oklahoma State. He’s No. 71 playing right tackle.
Click below to view Tampa Bay’s third-round pick in 2019.