March 11, 2024

Steinberg: Top 10 past CFL Combine performers

Christian Bender/

Combine season is upon us!

Eight players are advancing from last week’s Invitational Combine to an even bigger stage. Next up is the 2024 CFL Combine presented by New Era which goes March 19-24 in Winnipeg.

As we’re just over a week away, let’s look back at ten of the most impressive CFL Combine performances in recent memory.

CFL COMBINE presented by New EraCFL COMBINE presented by New Era
» View: 2024 CFL Combine roster
» Combine 101: The basics behind each drill
» Eight players advance following Invitational Combine
» CFL Combine rewind: Check out historical results

Ben Hladik, linebacker – 2021

In what was a sign of things to come, Hladik turned all kinds of heads at the 2021 CFL Combine. Coming off a great career at UBC, Hladik pounded out 29 reps on the bench press, which was good for second overall that year. His 4.66 time in the 40-yard dash was also second best while his 3-cone and shuttle results were also solid.

The BC Lions would select Hladik in the third round a few weeks later and have seen him develop into one of the CFL’s best linebackers over the last two seasons.

David Ménard, defensive line – 2014

Now well-established as one of the league’s most feared defensive ends, Ménard gave us a sneak peak of his impressive strength in the spring of 2014. Coming off four dominant years at the University of Montreal, Ménard crushed 33 reps on the bench press to lead everyone in his class. Those 33 reps are also tenth best since CFL Combine results started being archived.

A fourth-round pick of the BC Lions in 2014, Ménard now has seven CFL seasons under his belt and posted a career high nine sacks in 2022.

Kaion Julien-Grant, receiver – 2019

We know now that Julien-Grant is one of the league’s most athletic receivers, which wouldn’t have surprised anyone who saw him at the 2019 CFL Combine. The St. Francis Xavier product excelled with a blazing 4.49 time in the 40-yard dash and finished near the top of his class in the vertical and broad jump.

Taken in the second round, 13th overall, by the Montreal Alouettes, Julien-Grant would have been one of the CFL’s leading receivers last season if not for an injury sustained in Week 8.

Francis Bemiy, defensive line – 2023

After four good years at Southern Utah, Bemiy’s performance at last year’s CFL Combine cemented him as a first-round talent in the eyes of scouts. Bemiy stood out most during padded practice sessions where he could showcase his explosive hands and solid technique. Bemiy also posted solid testing numbers in the vertical jump and shuttle.

After going ninth overall to BC in the 2023 CFL Draft, Bemiy appeared in nine games last season as a rookie.

Shaq Johnson, receiver – 2016

Johnson’s numbers from the 2016 Toronto Regional Combine still stand up as impressive almost a decade later. The speedy receiver busted off a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, which is still tied for the third fastest recorded. Similarly, Johnson’s broad jump is the fourth longest recorded.

Selected by BC in the fourth round, Johnson recorded 2,112 receiving yards in six seasons with the Lions and Ottawa REDBLACKS.


Henoc Muamba, linebacker – 2011

It’s not like Muamba needed a good CFL Combine to solidify his spot as one of the top players in 2011, but that didn’t stop the future All-Star and Grey Cup champion. Muamba’s 6.72 time in the 3-cone is still the fourth fastest recorded and was just another stepping stone on a path to a stellar CFL career.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made Muamba the first overall selection out of St. Francis Xavier that year and, after 12 great seasons, he just announced his retirement last month.

Daniel Oladejo, receiver – 2023

Oladejo’s performance at last year’s CFL Combine was strong across the board. The University of Ottawa product was a difference maker in practice sessions, while his 20 bench press reps as a receiver opened plenty of eyes. Furthermore, Oladejo posted solid totals in the shuttle and vertical jump.

A second-round territorial pick of the REDBLACKS last year, Oladejo made his CFL debut in Week 21 against Toronto.

Tevaughn Campbell, defensive back – 2015

Coming off four years with the University of Regina where he established himself as one of the fastest college players in the country, Campbell didn’t disappoint at the CFL Combine. Campbell’s lightning quick 4.36 in the 40-yard dash is still the second fastest time ever recorded and the fastest since the league switched to electronic timing.

The Calgary Stampeders made Campbell a third-round pick in 2015 and, after four seasons in the CFL, Campbell is now a member of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jake Taylor, linebacker – 2023

Goodness was Taylor an absolute testing monster last year. The University of Alberta linebacker finished first in his class in the broad jump, which was also the sixth longest distance historically. Taylor also finished near the top in the 40, vertical jump, 3-cone, and shuttle and wasn’t too shabby in the bench press, either.

The Edmonton Elks made Taylor a second-round territorial pick in the 2023 CFL Draft.

Tyrell Richards, linebacker – 2022

Many thought Richards was going to be a high pick going into the 2022 CFL Draft and Richards proved those people right and then some at the CFL Combine. Richards was a testing beast and finished near the top of his class in every category while also turning heads by doing drills with the linebackers, defensive linemen, and defensive backs.

Unsurprisingly, Richards went first overall to Montreal and has appeared in 18 games in his first two professional seasons.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!