It’s time to check in on the 2014 Canadian Draft prospects stock market. A large number of athletes worked out for Canadian Football League scouts during the last full week of March. In total there were four CFL Combines, three regional and the national event held over three days in Toronto from March 21-23.
CFL hopefuls had their stocks rise and fall after player personnel men from around the league got an up-close look at this year’s crop of talent.
Based on Combine performances, and with an eye towards the Canadian Draft in May, let’s take a look at which defensive players moved up and down the draft board.
|Draft Watch: The Linemen
CFL.ca’s Justin Dunk takes a look at which linemen saw their stocks rise and fall, as the countdown to the 2014 CFL Draft continues to roll on.
Travis Bent, LB, Concordia
Height 5’11” 216 pounds
When Bent was coming out of high school he was heavily recruited by Rice University in Houston, a NCAA Division I school, which tells you just how talented a player he has the ability to be. He earned his way to the National Combine through the Montreal Regional and had a solid showing in Toronto. Bent made scouts notice that there is more than one Concordia linebacker that has pro potential. He’s an explosive tackler that could find a home on special teams.
Jesse Briggs, LB, McGill
Height 6’1” 213 pounds
Hands down Briggs is the best athlete among all 2014 draft eligible linebackers – a special athlete. He posted the best testing numbers among those at his position in the bench (27), vertical (38.5”) and 40-yard dash (4.57 seconds). Briggs will be able to come in and contribute right away on special teams in the CFL, and he has the type of athleticism that will give him the chance to be a difference maker on defence at the pro level.
Max Caron, LB, Concordia
Height 6’1” Weight 221 pounds
Based on Caron being ranked 10th on the CFL Scouting Bureau list before the Combine, his stock took a hit. His less-than-spectacular testing numbers are the main reason for his draft board dip. But by all reports Caron was one of the best during the interview process. He is an instinctual, active playmaker on tape, but his test results don’t quite measure to the same level. That said, being a better football player than a testing machine is what matters most when the pads are put on.
|Related: 2014 CFL Combine
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Casey Chin, LB, Simon Fraser
Height 5’10” Weight 209 pounds
Despite playing all the way out west, Chin has the full attention of CFL scouts. He led the GNAC, a NCAA Division II conference, in tackles for three straight seasons, and he also showed through his testing numbers that he has the physical capabilities to compete in the CFL. He is the best long snapping prospect in the draft, and with ‘start strong and finish stronger’ as his motto you know he’s going to give all he has on special teams.
Beau Landry, LB, Western
Height 5’10” 208 pounds
The biggest question scouts had about Landry going into the Combine was his speed. Well, he ran a 4.71 40-yard time to provide a more than adequate answer. Landry is a physical player on tape and he continued to show that in pass rush and coverage drills.
Thomas Miles, LB, Manitoba
Height 6’0” 223 pounds
Miles is a big, physical linebacker who displayed some sneaky athleticism at the National Combine. He is a good long snapper and can also be a special teams contributor.
Eric Black, DB, Saint Mary’s
Height 5’11” 176 pounds
Eric is longer, taller and skinnier than his older brother Matt who plays for the Toronto Argonauts. The younger brother put down a 4.65 40-yard time to go along with his other above average testing numbers, but he needs to develop his body more in the weight room.
Derek Jones, DB, Simon Fraser
Height 6’0” 182 pounds
Another player with CFL bloodlines, Jones’ dad Ed was a three-time CFL All-Star defensive back with the Eskimos during their dynasty run of five straight Grey Cup championships from 1978-82. Jones proved at the Combine that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He has good size, ran a speedy 4.51 40-yard time, and climbed draft boards in the process. Physically looks like a CFL defensive back.
Andrew Lue, DB, Queen’s
Height 6’1” Weight 209 pounds
Only one thing held Lue back at the Combine – an injury. He tweaked a hamstring while doing the broad jump on Saturday and it bothered him enough that he decided not to run his 40. Scouts would have liked to get a fresh time on Lue, but his speed on tape more than speaks for itself. He showed his explosion and short area burst in the other testing events. Despite his hamstring tweak, Lue’s elite cover skills were on display in the one-on-ones.
Antoine Pruneau, DB, Montreal
Height 6’0” Weight 194 pounds
Flat out, Pruneau is a fierce competitor. From watching him at the Combine it’s clear he will give a CFL receiver everything he has on each play. Pruneau has an intriguing blend of speed, agility and size for a defensive back. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, a Combine-best 6.78 3-cone, recorded the second best shuttle mark at 4.05 and stands over six feet tall. He must get functionally stronger to be able to handle physical CFL receivers.
Adam Thibault, DB, Laval
Height 5’11” 193 pounds
Everyone knew Thibault was going to do well in the testing aspect of the Combine. In fact, his results only proved further the rare athleticism he possesses. But a hamstring setback held him out of the football drills, undoubtedly the most vital part of the weekend for Thibault. He did not get the chance to line up against the top receiving prospects in the country, or show scouts that he can translate his raw athleticism into success and production on the field.
Raye Hartmann, DB, St. Francis Xavier
Height 6’0” 206 pounds
One never could’ve guessed Hartmann has been out of football for the past two seasons. He appeared to be game ready when he hit the field at the Toronto Regional and National Combine. Hartmann is an ultra physical defensive back, he seems to relish contact, a trait that will make him an instant contributor on special teams in the pros. He has a lot of tools scouts look for in a CFL defensive back prospect.