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NFL Draft Prospect Preview - Dominick Puni

by J.T. Toth


Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report.


At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.


Today’s Spotlight - Kansas, Tackle, Dominick Puni


Name- Dominick Puni

Pos- Tackle

Team- Kansas

HT/WT- 6’5” 320 lbs.

Born- n/a

Home – St. Charles, MO


Dominick Puni played high school football at Francis Howell Central High School in the St. Louis metro area. Besides playing football, Puni played 4 years of volleyball and did track and field as a senior. He was not highly recruited, even though he never gave up one sack during his 4 year career on the offensive line. He committed to play football at the University of Central Missouri.


Puni played 4 years at Central Missouri, though 2020 was canceled, and he suffered an injury in 2021 only playing 2 games.  He played in 7 games as a true freshman in 2018, starting the last 3 games of the season. His sophomore season was his best for the Mules, and he started all 13 games at left tackle, earning honorable mention all-conference honors. After the 2021 season, he entered the transfer portal and agreed to play football for the Jayhawks in Kansas.


In his first season at Kansas, he started all 13 games at left guard and made honorable mention All-Big 12. Coming into 2023, Puni was a Preseason All-Big 12 second team. Puni had an excellent 2023 season, starting all 12 games at left tackle and being named First-Team All-Big 12. Puni skyrocketed up charts during the season and is now considered a mid-round draft pick. 


Dominick Puni is a 6’5” 320 lb. tackle that explodes out of his stance and has above average foot work and mechanics. He is a smooth moving athlete who can get out front and be effective on the second level. His versatility will be highly valued when he is interviewed and evaluated as he has started at both left guard and left tackle and even played some center in the spring for Kansas. He can be a mauler who excels in tight quarters and plays hard through the whistle. For teams that want to run the ball, Puni is a nice fit. He is an exceptional run blocker who can drive through his opponent using his lower body to power through. 


On the downside, Draft Nation doesn't see Puni as a left tackle in the NFL. He has struggled out in space and projects as a guard at the next level. While in combat, he loses his balance too many times and ends up on the ground too often. Stunts and misdirection moves by defensive linemen and linebackers have gotten Puni off balance and he is slow in processing the moves. He plays too upright in his backpedal off of snaps and loses the edge against faster defenders.


Dalton Risner is a great comparison to Puni. Risner was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. During the combine and draft process, there were many who believed that Risner could get moved inside and play guard. Draft Nation believes that Dominick Puni will go through the same process and will become a future starting guard in the NFL.


Strengths


  • Athleticism/2nd level

  • Run blocking

  • Explodes out of stance

  • Versatility


Weaknesses


  • Pass blocking

  • Off balance/misdirection

  • Blocking in space

  • Backpedal–mechanics


Final Analysis


Dominick Puni is one of those players who become more and more valuable as the draft goes forward. Teams love versatile players and being able to get one on the 3rd day is a steal. Puni has some work to do, but Draft Nation feels that a move back inside will help his career go a long way. Look for Puni to be an early day 3 pick.


Draft 412 Draft Projection -  Round 4 or Round 5

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