March 28, 2023

For Comparison’s Sake: Projecting the Combine’s top prospects

Christian Bender/

Every year as I have the pleasure of covering the CFL Combine presented by New Era for and I appreciate getting to put a face to the names of U SPORTS and NCAA prowess that will define draft day.

In watching players move through drills, athletic tests and even in the hallways of hotels or between drills on the field, I’ve enjoyed more each year the chance to draw relatable comparisons for CFL fans just beginning to understand who these rookies are. Heck, I’m doing the same thing.

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Some comparisons are easy to make while others becoming increasingly difficult to play matchmaker with as the prospects’ athletic profile and frame become more and more unique.

While the comparisons below are strictly based on testing metrics and athleticism over playing style, it’s amazing how often there is overlap in a chicken or egg discussion between game play and physical characteristics. With that in mind, the charts below represent the percentile for each test completed by draft eligible players then and now as we attempt to draw the most accurate comparisons possible.

Concordia Stingers QB Olivier Roy = Saskatchewan Huskies QB Kyle Siemens

When Roy measured in on Wednesday at the Combine, I was a bit shook by his slight frame. He plays bigger and not having the chance to watch Concordia on anything more than film, he commands a huddle with the likes of any six-foot-four, 200-pound quarterback from across the country.

The name that came to mind immediately was former Regina Rams quarterback Noah Picton based on frame, but the testing came out most similar to former Saskatchewan quarterback Kyle Siemens. Roy has an uphill battle as the only draft eligible passer this year, but his game was as smooth as ever at the Combine.

Delaware State RB Thomas Bertrand-Hudon = Sherbrooke Vert Et Or RB Anthony Gosselin

Similar to the Roy-Picton idea, I was tempted to put Bertrand-Hudon in the Ante Milanovich-Litre class of tester and body type but upon further research longtime REDBLACKS fullback Anthony Gosselin made more sense.

Both men are uniquely tall with a good burst for special teams and have value as a depth back on any roster across the CFL. In a weak running back class, the Delaware State running back might be the highest drafted depending on the risk teams are willing to take with Illinois standout Chase Brown.

Guelph Gryphons REC Clark Barnes = St. FX REC Kaion Julien-Grant

Both Clark Barnes and Kaion Julien-Grant are tall, long and quick with smooth route running and elite acceleration in the 40-yard dash challenged only by their vertical and broad jump numbers.

Clark and Kaion aren’t carbon copies of each other, but their athletic makeup is about as close to comparable as I could find. The comparison is one that the Gryphons standout should feel positive about based on the production and remaining potential of Julien-Grant following a breakout 2022 in Montreal.

Saskatchewan Huskies OL Dayton Black = Sherbrooke Vert Et Or OL Vincent Roy

Tall frames with slightly below average weight and long arms, it was just a few years ago that Roy was part of the solid depth of the 2019 offensive line class. That would have been a position Black would likely call home if it weren’t for the offensive lineman deferring their draft to 2024 to spend an extra year at school.

As a result, the Huskies big man was thrust into the 1A role in Edmonton’s Combine setup and got plenty of reps to state his case for getting drafted high May 2.

UBC Thunderbirds DL Lake Korte-Moore = New Hampshire Wildcats DL Jon Oosterhuis

Woah. I know I went off the board with this one. I usually try to keep things maximum relatable here with recent players but there just wasn’t a good comparison for Korte-Moore!

With a unique combination of height and weight, Lake was viewed by many as a player who could beef up and move inside to defensive tackle or progressively improve pass rushing and play the end exclusively. He moves like a linebacker, with better size, and will compete on special teams right away. As a result, he was a tough comparison to find a match for. Oosterhuis is a more athletic physical match but holds a similarly unique height/weight relationship.

Montreal Carabins LB Michael Brodrique = York Lions LB Jacob Janke

One of the CFL Combine’s true rising stars, Brodrique plays with a solid base and is so fundamentally sound reading and reacting, but he also has a similar athletic makeup to former fourth round pick Jacob Janke, who currently resides with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

I expect Brodrique to be taken higher, potentially even the first round, if the fit is right for a team in need.

Guelph Gryphons DB Harrison Bagayogo = Carleton Ravens DB Nate Hamlin

Bagayogo has a bit more length and more experience getting up to the line of scrimmage than Hamlin, but both have a unique range to their game with the combination of length and 20 to 40-yard acceleration matched by elite broad jumps. The question now becomes do teams see Bagayogo as a field corner, or will they slot him into the usual Canadian landing spot of free safety?

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