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Dillon Radunz Aims to Earn a Starting Spot for the Titans in 2022


NASHVILLE – Back in March, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel didn't beat around the bush when asked if second-year offensive lineman Dillon Radunz is ready to start for the team in 2022.

His simple answer: No.

While the answer raised some eyebrows, Radunz understood what his head coach meant. And anyone paying attention realized Vrabel's answer from 2 ½ months ago included putting responsibility on Radunz – and the team's coaching staff – to make sure the 2021 second-round draft pick is ready to start in September when the season begins.

"Ultimately, when he said that, it's true," Radunz said of Vrabel's answer, which came at the NFL Combine. "When you are in the offseason, I don't think any of us are ready to start and play in a game at that moment. It's the offseason, and there's a reason it's called the offseason. Obviously, as a competitor, it is my goal to start and all of that stuff. But the team is first and we're going to make sure everybody on that starting line earns it."

The competition is now under way for Radunz and others in a bid to start up front alongside returning starters Taylor Lewan (LT), Ben Jones (C) and Nate Davis (RG).

The team has open spots at left guard and right tackle following the departure of Rodger Saffold and David Quessenberry, and now is the time to start making a case.

Vrabel pointed out this week during OTAs it's way early.

"They all are going to have an opportunity – what they do with it will determine how many more opportunities they get," Vrabel said. "We'll try and find a good combination that's a winning combination, and that gives them the best chance to succeed and help our football team.

"So, I think that's going to be pretty fluid, just throughout the entire offseason. It is hard to identify those guys right now because we are not in pads. It is predominantly a passing camp and the runs that we are installing and running against our defense are not at a pace that you could really identify anybody in the run game."

In 2021, Radunz played in 12 games for the Titans, but with just one start, which came at left tackle against the 49ers because Lewan wasn't able to play. Radunz played well in that game, earning praise from his coaches and teammates.

Radunz, a North Dakota State product, is a big contender to start at right tackle in Year 2. But Vrabel has pointed out on several occasions Radunz has worked plenty at guard, which puts him in the conversation there as well.

"We're going to move guys around in order to push each other and earn it and wherever a guy lines up – whatever guy earns that spot, whether it's the spot he thought he was going to take or not – that's just the way it is going to be,' Radunz said. "The competition of earning it here is a big part of the atmosphere."

After a year of learning, Radunz knows a lot of expected of him moving forward.

As a first-team team FCS All-American at North Dakota State, Radunz allowed zero sacks in his final two college seasons while protecting quarterback Trey Lance's blindside at the school.

Radunz believes the experience of a year ago should help him in Year 2, but he knows he'll have to work.

"It is huge jump comfortability-wise," Radunz said of his second offseason. "Being in the first year, obviously everything is new. City is new, you're away from home, the NFL is new. I was from the FCS level so there wasn't as many big guys, so just being able to adapt to that physicality. So, comfortability-wise, just way more comfortable going into Year 2.

"I just want to go out here every day and give 110 percent. Follow what the coaches do, push each other, and put in the work. The mission is for the Titans to win games, and for the starting five to earn those spots. So, whoever earns those spots during fall camp, it is our job to push those people."


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