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Senior Bowl Standouts: National Team Day 1

Who won the day for the National Team?

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Senior Bowl/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Senior Bowl day one is officially in the books. The National Team took the field to start the day and it was fairly competitive, especially for some players who haven’t touched a field since 2019. While I wasn’t able to attend the practice live, I am covering the event virtually this year so I was able to get a close-up view of how some players performed on the day. With that said, here are my five winners from the National Team practice on Tuesday.

1.) Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

After opting out this past year, Levi Onwuzurike didn’t show any signs of rust in his first Senior Bowl practice. The standout defensive tackle out of Washington last played in 2019 when he had 45 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss, and 2 sacks on the year. After measuring in at 6’2” 290 pounds on Tuesday morning, he looked like the quickest player on the field in one on one drills.

His ability to win with speed and power really won me over. He was quick enough to bend around interior linemen and strong enough to counter when they got their hands on him. He consistently made everything he was doing in drill work look easy from an athletic standpoint. In a class that lacks a bit of star power at defensive tackle, Onwuzurike looked like a top player.

2.) Dillon Radunz, OT, North Dakota State

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Another player who missed all of 2020 due to Covid, North Dakota State left tackle Dillon Radunz didn’t look out of place one bit. After his team had their entire season canceled and with the fact that he was coming to this event from the FCS level, it is shocking how well he performed in one on one drills and in team action.

He held his own against some of the best pass rushers in football as he snatched Shaka Toney on one rep and stonewalled Rashad Weaver on another. In team drills, he was a standout in both the run and pass game and looked like the best offensive tackle on the team. This week is huge for the small school tackle and so far he appears to be climbing up those draft boards.

3.) D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan

2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Senior Bowl/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The fastest player on the field today was D’Wayne Eskridge out of Western Michigan. He absolutely dominated one on one drills with suddenness and explosion that was unmatched by any corner on the field. He also had a really nice diamond release on a slant route where he showcased his power to beat press coverage that was in his face. He is a bit on the smaller side but if he can consistently showcase this speed and route running ability, he should be able to make a lot of money this week.

Plays of the Day

Daelin Hayes Bull rushing Spencer Brown

In each of these articles, I am going to feature a couple of plays of the day so you all can see some of the more dominant plays of the afternoon. The first one was in the OL vs DL drills where Notre Dame DE Daelin Hayes destroyed Northern Iowa’s Spencer Brown with a devastating bull rush. Hayes is a player to watch for Colts’ fans as he is certainly a Ballard type of guy at defensive end.

Cade Johnson Winning Deep

There were a few options for catch of the day as Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace and Wake Forrest’s Sage Surratt made a few nice catches as well. With all the options so close, I had to go with the player who made the most plays in Cade Johnson out of South Dakota State. Like Radunz, Johnson didn’t play this season due to his season being canceled but didn’t look the least bit rusty. What he lacked in speed, he made up for it with route running and polish. This was a gorgeous catch on the sideline after beating his defender deep.