March 9, 2019

Preview: Combine season kicks off with Western Regional in Edmonton

David Moll/University of Calgary

EDMONTON — March is an important month for Canada’s top football prospects and it all gets underway on Monday in Edmonton.

Prospects will show their worth and try to improve their draft stock at the Western Regional Combine, the first of three regionals leading up to the CFL National Combine presented by New Era March 22-24.

The country’s top amateur football players will spend the next three weeks looking to turn heads before the 2019 CFL Draft on May 2.

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Bison receiver Dylan Schrot carries the ball during a game in 2018 (Trevor Hagan/University of Manitoba)

Manitoba’s Dylan Schrot is among can’t-miss prospects this time around, as the five-foot-10, 190-pound pass-catcher was named a second-team All-Canadian in 2018 and brings 788 yards and six touchdowns to the combine.

Scouts and fans alike will also keep an eye on running back Blake Whiteley of UBC. At six-foot-five and 248 pounds, the former Texas Longhorns recruit could be a dark horse in Edmonton.

Twin brothers Nicholas and Aaron Statz, defensive backs from the Calgary Dinos, are both attending the Western Regional. The brothers will hope they will earn an invite to the national combine together.

Last year, 13 players from regional combines were extended an invitation to the CFL combine, 12 of those being selected in the 2018 CFL Draft. Three of those 12 drafted came from the Western Regional Combine, including receivers William Watson and Justin Buren and running back Tanner Green.

Watson was selected by the BC Lions in the seventh round while Buren was chosen by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in round five and Green was selected by the Edmonton Eskimos in the fourth round.

» 5 players to track at the Western Regional Combine

Testing starts at 9:00 a.m. MT with height and weight, hand and arm measurements, video shot, vertical and broad jumps and the bench press. At 11:00 a.m., prospects will take part in the 40-yard dash as well as the short-shuttle and 3-cone drill.

After positional drills and one-on-ones at 1:30 p.m., the final announcement of those invited to the national combine is expected at approximately 3:50 p.m.

2019 is the seventh year in a row that the CFL will host regional combines and the fifth year it will host a trio of them.

At the CFL National Combine presented by New Era, players will undergo medical examinations; performance, strength and speed tests; on-field football drills; and team interviews over a span of two days in front of coaches, scouts and general managers.

By the numbers:

– Of the 42 players currently on the Western Regional Combine roster, 39 are draft eligible.

– The breakdown of the positions is fairly split with eight linebackers and defensive backs leading the way. (Full breakdown: 8 LB, 8 DB, 7DL, 7 WR, 6 OL, 4 RB, 1 K, 1 QB)

– 12 schools/programs will be represented, led by the eight from Manitoba. The full breakdown is as follows: Alberta (7), Calgary (5), Regina (5), Simon Fraser (4), Saskatchewan (3), St. Francis Xavier (2), UBC (2), Langley Rams (2), Tabor College (1), Montana State Northern (1), Saskatoon Hilltops (1) and Regina Thunder (1).