Thompson’s Senior Bowl Winners

The 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl was a resounding success. Jim Nagy put the pieces together perfectly to navigate this pandemic plagued year we are living in. And as always Nagy put together a roster that would rival one that an expansion team would be able to assemble. But as always there are winners and losers, so let’s take a look at a few of the guys who won my heart this week.

Quinn Meinerz (iOL UW-Whitewater)

The Senior Bowl fan favorite just has to be the one to kick off my list. Meinerz, who starred at Wisconsin-Whitewater, was a D3 addition to the roster. He came into the week as a no name player but that did not stop him. The first day of practice Meinerz looked a little nervous and seemed to struggle a bit. However the rest of the week, that was not the case. Meinerz was constantly winning his 1 on 1’s and pancaked Patrick Jones at one point.

Watching Meinerz go toe to toe with even the most elite prospects at the Senior Bowl was a site to see. It really brings the question of, how high can his stock really go? No matter where he gets drafted, Meinerz is the prime example of the underdog story that we football fans will always love and cherish.

Quincy Roche (EDGE Miami)

Quincy Roche was one of “my guys” over the summer and in the early parts of this draft cycle. After being overshadowed by the rise of teammate Jaelan Phillips the Senior Bowl was a chance for Roche to establish himself as a premier pass rusher in this draft class. And Roche cemented himself with a second round grade in my book. Roche had some very good reps against Alex Leatherwood during some 1v1’s.

Roche was constantly using his speed to disrupt the lineman. Not sure if Roche will ever be a superstar at the next level until he really develops his moves, but he will be a very good pass rusher who teams will covet for his blend of speed, power, and bend. He has the traits, let’s hope he can put it together at the next level.

Dillon Radunz (OT NDSU)

Dillon Radunz was one of the guys who had the most to gain this week in Mobile. He was an FCS player who suffered when the season got moved to the spring and who was already considered on of the more raw tackles in this upcoming draft class. But that didn’t stop Radunz down in Mobile.

In this clip we see Radunz keep the pocket clean for QB Felipe Franks. Going into the week, Radunz was known as a run blocking mauler at the left tackle spot in the Bison offense, so seeing him looking comfortable in pass pro is a good thing to see. Radunz might start off as a guard at the next level due to his incredible run blocking ability, but after this week in Mobile he has cemented himself as a first round grade in my book.

Shi Smith (WR SC)

Shi Smith was a guy who was pretty underrated earlier in the draft cycle due to him playing for a team that fell out of contention early. However Smith is a gem in this draft class loaded with talented wide receiver’s. Smith is projected to play mostly in the slot at the next level, but don’t slot shame him. He makes the most of his mismatches. Smith uses his incredible footwork and burst to create constant separation.

Smith has such a smooth transition in his change of direction. He uses that fluidity to beat man coverage regularly. All week Shi was going after Kadarius Toney in reps, and was going toe to toe with him in terms of his ability. Smith is a guy who will probably be pushed down in the draft due to the loaded receiver class, but if your team gets him, he will be a fantastic addition to your offense.

James Hudson III (OT Cincinnati)

Cincy's James Hudson ejected for targeting on late hit | Yardbarker

James Hudson III was a guy who really caught my eye before he got ejected in the Chick-fila-a Bowl against UGA. He had been holding down the blindside for QB Desmond Ridder before the ejection. In 2020 he was a first year starter at the position and provided a mean streak on that left side of the line. At the Senior Bowl, he showed versatility at both left and right tackle and was a mauler. He played physically and displayed the mean streak that we had heard about.

All week Hudson was handling the bigger names that were at the Senior Bowl in a blue collar style. Things started to get a bit chippy between him and Patrick Jones at one point, with back to back reps leading to pushing and chirping between the two. Hudson is very much a blue collar mauler who will be a good addition to an offensive line who enjoys smash mouth football.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

There were way too many guys that impressed this week to only settle on five, so here are a few more that impressed me.

  • D’Ante Smith (OT Eastern Carolina)
  • Frank Darby (WR Arizona State)
    • Darby was First Team Chirper down in Mobile which holds a special place in my heart.
  • Tony Fields (LB WV)
  • Aaron Robinson (CB UCF)

This recovery by Robinson was too good not to share. Anyway, who caught your eye down in Mobile? Let me know in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter for all NFL Draft content: @hthompsonNFL

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