The Tennessee Titans went for an offensive lineman to compete at the right tackle spot with their second-round choice at No. 53 Friday, taking Dillon Radunz of North Dakota State.
Radunz played in just one game last season for the Bison, who play on the FCS level, but handled himself well at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and believes he is ready for the challenge of playing in the NFL.
Tennessee traded back, giving the Green Bay Packers the 85th pick and getting the 92nd pick and No. 135 in the fourth round back in return.
With that 92nd pick, GM Jon Robinson chose Georgia inside linebacker Monty Rice. At No. 100, a compensatory pick, the Titans went with University of Washington defensive back Elijah Molden, who can play both safety and nickelback.
“Anytime you go into the draft, you're looking to add good football players, and those guys we added over the last two nights, we feel can come in and help our football team. They're going to come in and carve out a role,” Robinson said.
Radunz could help ease some of the sting from the Titans swung and miss with Isaiah Wilson, who was drafted in the first round to be their right tackle last year. They have veterans Ty Sambrailo and recent free agent pickup Kendall Lamm at the position, but Radunz, who was primarily a left tackle at North Dakota State, could be in the mix at right tackle.
“Obviously, there are faster stronger guys, but I've been putting in the work this off-seaosn and been putting in the work since my coaches thought I could go to the NFL. I've been working against those types of opponents. I thought I acquitted myself well at the Senior Bowl and performed well against those guys and just continuing to get stronger and faster,” Radunz said.
Robinson said he likes Radunz's athleticism and his ability to both pass protect and run block.
“He's big, he's long and he's athletic, and he plays with great effort,” Robinson said of Radunz.
Radunz played in just one game in 2020 before departing to prepare for the draft. He worked with former 49ers lineman Joe Staley in preparation for the draft.
“He was super good in my development,” Radunz said.
In the third round, the Titans took two defensive players, despite a need at wide receiver and tight end on offense.
Rice figures to be a depth player behind starters Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans in 2021.
Rice is plenty confident that the complex defensive scheme he ran with the Bulldogs will translate well to the Titans.
“Georgia has the most complex defense in college football,” Rice said. “So I feel like I'm ready for whatever playbook-wise. I feel like I'm ready to learn any new defense, because at Georgia we learned it all.”
Eight picks later, the Titans went back to the secondary, choosing Molden as their second defensive back drafted this weekend. Tennessee had used its first-round choice Thursday on cornerback Caleb Farley of Virginia Tech.
Molden, the son of former NFL defensive back Alex Molden, is a versatile player who can play nickelback and safety.
“I would play inside and I would play safety. I would play nickel and then when we went to base, I would slide back to safety,” Molden said of his college career.
The Titans did not select a wide receiver or a tight end in the first two days of the draft, and still need help at those positions, not only from a production standpoint, but also from a numbers aspect.
“We tried to move up, but we couldn't get up high enough a couple of times,” Robinson said of the possibility of going to take players at those spots Friday.
The Titans GM indicated that some day three players could still come in and find playing time as rookies at those spots.
“Once we add them to the team, we have a certain evaluation on the player of what we think the skillset is going to be. It'll be up to the player to come in and work hard, buy into our program, and what play time they get, they'll earn,” Robinson said.
The Titans have six picks on the final day of the draft.