QUEBEC CITY – The CFL held its first ever set of Regional Combines this week ahead of the main Combine in Toronto. Edmonton and Quebec City both respectively played host with just under 80 invitees taking part in drills and testing, trying not only to earn an invite to the main showcase but help improve their draft stock.
Scouts and general managers representing all 8 CFL clubs were in attendance as players went through the bench press, broad and vertical jump, shuttle, 3-cone, 40-yard dash and individual drills.
“You try to get as much information on these guys prior to heading into the (regional) combine but this gives us an opportunity to see them athletically and give us more players to research”, said Edmonton Eskimos General Manager Ed Hervey.
Hervey stresses that not only does the Regional Combine help give coaches and scouts an up close and personal look at some of the depth available at the college and university level but helps expand their reach as far as how many players that can accurately evaluate.
“No question (this helps)”, he continued. We get the opportunity to see more players. The elite players that go to Toronto, chances are you won’t necessarily get them if you don’t have a first round pick…you can also get some of those guys in the mid rounds but regional combines like this could be priority free agents, diamond in the rough guys so to speak. The more players that you have an opportunity to see the better chances are that you can fill depth spots on your roster”
Three of those players were chosen over the two dates to move on to Toronto this weekend including Concordia DB Kristopher Robertson, DL Michael Klassen out of Calgary and DB Jermaine Gabriel who played at both Bishop’s and the CJFL’s Calgary Colts.
One of the scouts keeping a watchful eye on things was Montreal Alouettes’ Uzooma Okeke who said that not only does the regional combine represent additional opportunities to view players, it also is a good barometer for how much talent is out there at the college and university level in Canada.
“The talent is getting a lot better”, Okeke said with conviction following Wednesday’s Combine. “I have been scouting for 7 years and the talent has increased year over year and this is just a testament to that.”
The 2013 CFL Combine kicks off Friday afternoon with player arrivals, medicals and team interviews. On Saturday the players’ strength, athleticism and flexibility will be tested at the Park Hyatt Toronto Hotel. The camp finishes on the football field at Varsity Centre at the University of Toronto on Sunday.
Stay linked to CFL.ca throughout the weekend for results, exclusive features and videos and inside information from staff writers and former participants Henoc and Cauchy Muamba of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.