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 let’s take a look at which individuals may have moved up and down the draft board beginning with the linemen on both sides of the ball.
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Jaskaran Dhillon, OL, UBC
Height 6’2” Weight 289 pounds
Coming into the Combine Dhillon was viewed as a developmental prospect because he’s only played one year on the offensive line. He showed he had the strength – pumping 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press – and overall size to play at the pro level. However, during the one-on-one session it was clear Dhillon still needs to clean up some technique flaws. He plays a little high at times and gets off balance, but he initiates contact, plays to the echo of the whistle and flashes smooth footwork.
David Foucault, OL, Montreal
Height 6’7” Weight 300 pounds
Potential might be the word that best describes this massive lineman. Foucault has size you can’t teach and the frame to add some weight as well. He proved he is a big, strong and nimble offensive line prospect. The Montreal product led all blockers with a 4.61 shuttle and 7.50 3-cone time, and put up a respectable 22 reps on the bench. He displayed the type of agility and footwork to make scouts think he has the tools to be a ratio-changer at tackle in the CFL, or at least a very good guard. Foucault has ability to finish off pass rushers, but he needs to do it more consistently and develop a mean streak.
Matthias Goosen, OL, Simon Fraser
Height 6’3” Weight 295 pounds
Goosen just might be the most pro-ready prospect in the 2014 class because he started all four years for Simon Fraser, playing at the NCAA Division II level. The 2013 first-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Star centre put his unique combo of power and aggression on display for all to see during the on-field drills. After a strong Combine showing, Goosen is a near lock to be selected within the first five picks of the draft.
Terry Hart, OL, St. Francis Xavier
Height 6’1” Weight 300 pounds
Scouts were interested to see how much Hart weighed at the Combine because he looked light on tape. He came in at 11 pounds heavier than at the 2013 CIS East West Bowl. Projected to fit best at guard in the CFL, Hart helped himself with a solid all-around effort at the Combine. He is a physical lineman who is not afraid to initiate contact.
Pierre Lavertu, OL, Laval
Height 6’2” Weight 294 pounds
Entering the Combine weekend as the number two-ranked prospect didn’t leave much room for Lavertu to improve his stock. All he did was continue to prove his high ranking is deserved and showed he is the type of prospect who is ready to contribute from day one for a CFL franchise. As a lineman he has a strong base in his stance, delivers a solid punch and moves fluidly.
Aaron Wheaton, OL, Toronto
Height 6’4” Weight 292 pounds
It was a rough weekend for Wheaton at the Combine, especially in the one-on-one portion of the event. He was repeatedly slow out of his stance and allowed defenders to easily beat him off the edge. After a few reps you hoped Wheaton would settle in and feel more comfortable, but he didn’t show hardly any physicality. He absorbed contact instead of dishing it out. Certainly not the showing Wheaton had in mind.
Kyle Paterson, OL, Regina
Height 6’2” Weight 279 pounds
It was an up and down week for Paterson. He impressed scouts enough to earn an invite from Edmonton to the National Combine and through testing events showed he is a strong and athletic offensive line prospect. Paterson’s on-field performance was solid, but left something to be desired in Toronto.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OL, McGill
Height 6’4” Weight 298 pounds
There is no doubt Duvernay-Tardif is the best prospect in the 2014 class. But as his NFL stock continues to rise, his CFL stock falls. Teams north of the border will be reluctant to use a first round draft pick on a player they may not see for at least a few years. Duvernay-Tardif put up strong numbers at his Pro Day workout in Montreal on March 27 where there were more NFL teams (9) in attendance than CFL organizations (4). It seems consistent in talking to CFL types that they believe he will be a mid-to-late round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Michael Dadzie, DL, Regina
Height 6’1” Weight 234 pounds
Dadzie earned his way to the National Combine through the Edmonton regional. He has a blend of strength and speed, evidenced by his 24 bench press reps and 4.77 40-yard time. Dadzie held his own, displayed a physical side in the one-on-ones, and he showed special teams potential.
Dylan Ainsworth, DL, Western
Height 6’2” Weight 235 pounds
Ainsworth was one of the main attention-grabbers at the Combine. He put on a show throughout the physical testing, putting up impressive numbers on both Saturday and Sunday. But he also showed what he can do when he strapped on the pads. Ainsworth was a force in the one-on-one pass rush session. He displayed a burst off the ball, active hands and was physical in his pursuit of the quarterback. On his last rep Ainsworth ran right through and over the offensive player he lined up against. He also put forth a solid effort in the special teams drills, an area he needed to prove to scouts he can excel in.
Kirby Fletcher, DL, Acadia
Height 6’2” 288 pounds
Overall it was a decent Combine for Fletcher. Coming in, scouts had pegged him as a run-stopping defensive lineman and that’s exactly what he proved to be. Fletcher has a solid bull rush, but didn’t flash any pro-ready pass rush moves.
Evan Gill, DL Manitoba
Height 6’3” Weight 304 pounds
Gill came in as the top ranked defensive line prospect and he certainly did not disappoint, especially when you consider he added over 20 pounds training in Florida. 29 reps on the bench and a 4.72 shuttle time are perfect examples of Gill’s combo of strength and agility for a young man his size. He got better as the one-on-one session wore on and displayed the potential to be a disruptive player on the interior of the defensive line at the professional level.
James Tuck, DL, York
Height 5’11” 229 pounds
A solid athlete, Tuck displayed a non-stop motor in all on-field drills. He showed some decent speed off the edge as a pass rusher. He will need a team to believe he can develop while playing special teams.
David Menard, DL, Montreal
Height 6’1” Weight 259 pounds
If you’re looking for defensive line prospects with ideal size, strength and ability to step in and contribute early in their career, Menard is one of those players. He led all Combine participants with 33 reps on the bench and weighed in just below 260 pounds. Menard showed a good burst out of his stance and plays nice and low behind his pads.
Martin Pesek, DL, Acadia
Height 6’2” 247pounds
Testing was critical for Pesek. He recorded nine sacks in his 2013 season for Acadia, but scouts view the offensive line play in the Atlantic University Conference as atrocious at best. So it was important for Pesek to show he is the type of athlete who can compete at the pro level, instead of just one that took advantage of porous line play. Pesek had a solid performance at the Combine, but didn’t blow anyone away in any particular area.
Quinn Smith, DL, Concordia
Height 6’1” Weight 302 pounds
Simply put, Smith was the star of the 2014 Combine. He showed that he is an athletic 300 pounder, perhaps his most impressive testing result was a 4.82 40 time – blazing for a man his size. And Smith saved his best for last. He put on as dominating a performance in the one-on-one drills that has possibly ever been seen at a CFL Combine. Smith comes off the ball quick and low and sets up his vast array pass rush moves very well. He happens to be just as smooth when he lines up on the offensive side of the ball. Smith’s stock shot through the roof with his performance.
Derek Wiggan, DL, Queen’s
Height 6’0” Weight 250
Wiggan came in as the 14th ranked prospect on the CFL Scouting Bureau and the second best defensive lineman, but he didn’t live up to that billing at the Combine. His testing results were pretty good, but there were other prospects at his position that stood out more. Wiggan’s one-on-one effort was decent, but again, not to the level of his ranking coming in, and far below other defensive line prospects.
Dylan Roper, DL, Simon Fraser
Height 5’11” Weight 229 pounds
The man with the best twitter handle in the 2014 CFL Draft class (@RopenessMonster) Roper earned his way to the National Combine through the Edmonton regional. There is no doubting Roper’s strength, he pushed 225 pounds 27 times on the bench press, and he appears to possess the abilities to be a factor on special teams in the CFL.
Nigel Romick, DL, St. Mary’s
Height 6’5” 242 pounds
Another player who earned his way to the National Combine through a regional, Romick has intriguing tools. He is a long, fast athlete with good size that hasn’t yet reached his full potential.