April 17, 2017

Ferguson: Pro days add to the puzzle for scouts, GMs

Yan Doublet/Laval

The CFL Combine presented by adidas painted a large part of the 2017 CFL Draft picture last month. Not all of it, however.

Some of the top players didn’t participated in the combine, instead opting to hold their own pro days. And just like the combine, pro days are important tools for evaluating some of the draft’s top talent.

With that said, here’s a look at how some of the upcoming draft’s top prospects fared in front of the scouts and GMs on their pro days:

 

ELI ANKOU | DT, UCLA

ANKOU, Eli - PRO DAY

 

There is a reason Eli Ankou is at UCLA. Mainly his hulking size at 6-foot-3, 331 pounds, but what makes Eli a special CFL Draft prospect is the lower body power he can generate at that size.

Ankou does not look like he weighs 331 pounds in pads and at his pro day, he laid down a broad jump number of 9-feet, 7-inches that would make you believe he was closer to 300 pounds while complementing that with 31 reps on the bench press.

His movement skills were’t high-end but he will primarily be asked to blow people off the ball in the CFL if and when he arrives here — something running around cones can’t measure.

 

FAITH EKAKITIE | DL, IOWA

EKAKITIE, Faith - PRO DAY

 

Faith Ekakitie is viewed by some in the scouting community as being more likely to don a CFL uniform than Ankou due to Ekakitie’s smaller relative frame. With that said, Faith still possesses a prototypical defensive tackle body and a has a quickness to his game that will fit the CFL perfectly.

His movement tests were equally impressive considering his body make up and his strength was everything it needed to be — one of the many reasons he has raised his stock on every scouting bureau list since September.

 

CHRISTOPHE MULUMBA | LB, MAINE

MULUMBA, Chris

 

Unfortunately for CFL scouts and perhaps Mulumba himself, the reason he attended the Maine pro day but not the CFL Combine in Regina is because both events overlapped.

At his pro day, Mulumba ran a 4.77 40-yard dash while carrying elite live strength. Perhaps the most impressive part of Mulumba’s pro day was his lower body explosion tests. Both the vertical and broad jump displayed the type of power you love to see in a linebacker worthy of immediate special teams work with an eye to the future as a possible ratio changer.

They’re all aspects that keep Mulumba as the top-ranked linebacker in this year’s draft class.

 

GEOFF GRAY | OL, MANITOBA

GRAY, Geoff

 

Whether setting broad jump records or riding unicycles, Geoff Gray’s pro day just felt impressive. The East-West Shrine Bowl invitee comes from a power lifting background leading to exceptional hip explosion in his jumps and the ability to open up stride during his 40-yard dash.

Everything about this guy screams that he’s worth the top pick, even though it would inherit risk of the NFL sweeping in to take him away for a while.

 

JUSTIN SENIOR | OL, MISSISSIPPI STATE

SENIOR, Justin

 

The CFL Scouting Bureau’s top-rated prospect throughout the entire CFL draft process measured in at his Mississippi State pro day at 6-foot-5, 331 pounds. A mountain of a man with what I would deem raw movement skills.

Personally, I feel as though teams have fallen in love with Senior’s natural size more than his natural movement and ability — a natural part of assessing a rare SEC offensive lineman who, with good coaching, could be special in the CFL.

Similar to Eli Ankou, one number that really stood out for Senior was his broad jump. A positive trait for any lineman offensive or defensive in foreshadowing their ability to get off the ball.

 

ANTONY AUCLAIR | REC, LAVAL

AUCLAIR, Antony - PRO DAY

 

Auclair ran his 40-yard dash with a tweaked hamstring and did not hit the number he wanted at his Laval pro day. Regardless of the number, it is easy to see on film in the RSEQ this season that Auclair has a good understanding of time and space, comfortably sitting down in the hole against zone coverage while running away from much smaller linebackers and defensive backs in man coverage.

In a perfect world his movement skill tests would have been better but the guy is a football player, not a track or multi sport athlete. On the football field he has all the measurable needed to succeed and is firmly inside the top 20 picks of my forthcoming third mock draft despite his NFL interest.