Over 50 of the top draft eligible players will be poked, prodded, grilled and put under the microscope by Canadian Football League teams during this weekend’s CFL Combine. Taking place in downtown Toronto, general managers, coaches and scouts will be looking for the next can’t-miss prospect or the proverbial diamond in the rough to improve their team.
Let’s break down the combine participants by positional groups and take a look at some of the players to keep an eye on over the weekend.
|Related: 2013 CFL Combine|
» Prospects hope to make lasting mark
» 2013 CFL Combine Roster
» Cauchy Muamba knows what it takes
» Regionals help expand combine process
» Quebec City Combine Results
» Edmonton Combine Results
» Robertson earns invite to Toronto
» Gabriel and Klassen move on to Toronto
» 2013 Combine Preview
» Combine Insider: Day 1 Testing
» Combine Insider: The Team Interviews
» Robertson Reacts to Toronto Invite
» Gabriel Moves On To Toronto
» Klassen Invited to Toronto Combine
» Ed Hervey 1-on-1
» Uzooma Okeke 1-on-1
» Quebec City Regional Combine
» Edmonton Regional Combine
Two Canadian quarterbacks will be in attendance at the 2013 combine, both with NCAA experience. Myles Gibbon spent three seasons with the University of South Alabama before transferring back north of the border to York University. Gibbon started eight games for the Lions in 2012, throwing for 1,992 yards and nine touchdowns as well as rushing 457 yards and a pair of scores. The other passer is Cayman Shutter a Regina native who moved to Hawaii at age 10 and has been a backup pivot at the University of Hawaii for the past three seasons.
Half a dozen running backs got the combine invite and a chance to put their talent on display. It will be a homecoming for Toronto native Eddie Houghton who is coming off a career-best season, rushing for 506 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games, at Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Calgary’s Steven Lumbala and Montreal’s Rotrand Sene, both with first team All-Canadian selections on their CIS resumes, will each look to answer questions about their speed. Under the radar is Ottawa’s Brendan Gillanders, he could excel in the testing portion of the combine.
As far as pass catchers go – all nine invitees are from CIS schools - scouts are looking for one or more to separate from the pack. Laval is represented by a trio of receivers, two of which could see their stock shoot up over the course of the weekend. Yannick Morin-Plante will look to duplicate his effort from the 2012 East West Bowl where he ran the fastest 40-yard time at 4.53. Rouge et Or teammate Seydou Junior Haidara is physical and tough, but must prove he can consistently catch the football in the one-on-ones.
There won’t just be receivers from Laval looking to distinguish themselves in front of scouts. McMaster’s Mike DiCroce, the 2011 CIS receiving yardage leader with 904 yards in eight games, could be the cream of the receiver crop. However, he needs to show he is fully healthy after missing the entire 2012 regular season before returning for the playoffs and also prove he has the type of top end speed scouts see flashes of on game tape in order to be considered a top draft pick.
An even 10 offensive lineman and their big frames will touch down in Hogtown. McMaster’s Matt Sewell comes in as the highest rated lineman, number two in the CFL’s Scouting Bureau rankings, looking to make his case to be the number one overall pick.
Other big men blockers who will have a sizeable chance at boosting their respective draft stocks are Cory Watman out of Eastern Michigan, who will get a chance to show his nasty interior lineman abilities, Regina’s Brett Jones because of his versatility and toughness, and Queen’s product Josh Prinsen who will turn heads with just his size alone.
It’s a loaded defensive line group, especially at the head of the class. Calgary’s Linden Gaydosh and Regina’s Stefan Charles will continue to jockey for position as the top defensive lineman in the Scouting Bureau rankings. McMaster’s Ben D’Aguilar, who tied for the CIS lead with 12.5 sacks in 2012, will draw lots of attention from CFL personnel evaluators trying to decide just what position might fit him best at the professional level. If you’re interested in a player who might blow up the testing part of the combine, look no further than Ellie Ngoyi out of Bishop’s.
Headlining the linebacker group is Calgary’s Mike Edem who had a career season for the Dinos in 2012. He led the Canada West conference with 55 tackles, adding nine and a half tackles for loss, four sacks and one interception as Edem burst onto the CFL radar with his standout campaign. Although, some scouts see Edem as a better fit at the free safety position in the pros, his performance at the combine will go a long way in determining where he fits best in the professional game. Also, be sure to keep tabs on Sherbrooke’s Nicolas Boulay. He was productive in his 2012 game film, but scouts would like to see him test well and show the type of athleticism needed to play in the CFL.
It takes a special kind of athlete to play defensive back in the CFL and nine combine participants will be trying to set themselves apart and prove they can handle the job. Late adds from the regional combines in Edmonton and Quebec, Jermaine Gabriel and Kristopher Robertson turned heads earlier in the week and will try to keep the momentum going in Toronto.
Last, but not least, two kickers get a chance to impress at the combine. Western’s Lirim Hajrullahu and Saint Mary’s Brett Lauther both handled kickoff, punting and field goal duties for their respective schools. Hajrullahu made 19 of 25 field goal attempts with a long of 37 yards in 2012 and punted for an average of 40.6 yards. Meanwhile, Lauther hit 16 of 20 three-point kicks with a long of 46 yards and had a 39.4 punt average. Both kickers have strong legs, but accuracy will be key when they kick field goals in front of CFL scouts.
It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of the combine invitees to leave a lasting impression on CFL talent evaluators. All the working out and preparation is done, all that’s left is to perform.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|