Ferguson: 10 standouts from the 2024 CFL Combine

Each year the CFL Combine presented by New Era presents an entirely new set of competitors.

With each fresh crop of future CFL talent comes different strengths, weaknesses, conversations, sticking points and challenges for teams and myself to truly understand the full package of every player.

CFL COMBINE presented by New Era
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This year, there were what felt like an endless amount of interesting stories to tell. With the focus on the field during Sunday’s CFL+ broadcast and draft night looming as names fly off the board, I suggest staying right here on CFL.ca reading profiles over the next month to really understand how interesting this class of talented players is. 

As a teaser, here are my top 10 standouts from the 2024 CFL Combine, each earning their way onto the list for their own unique variety of reasons as you would expect with such a diverse draft class.

Joel Dublanko | LB | Cincinnati

Photo: Cameron Bartlett/CFL.ca

There was no need for Dublanko to be present and do all testing, his resume is long and well known after being granted entrance to the CFL Draft process, but there he was in Winnipeg.

As Duane Forde did a great job of highlighting on Sunday, Dublanko could have shown up as a much heavier, downhill ‘American college style’ linebacker who is ready to punish between the tackles, but he clearly did his research and put the work in to display his ability to transition to the more wide open and pass-oriented CFL game.

While there is still work to be done as a potential weak side linebacker, Dublanko is highly anticipated to be a top-5 pick after his combine outing.

Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay | OL | Laval

Photo: Andrew Mahon/CFL.ca

The top testing offensive lineman, Dumoulin-Duguay was well thought of coming to Winnipeg and immediately grabbed hold of one of the tackle spots in team sessions.

His smooth feet and solid base were undeniable and despite not competing Sunday, he did more than enough to impress.

Casey Bauman | QB | Augustana

Photo: Cameron Bartlett/CFL.ca

While Jack Zergiotis got all the love from Sunday – rightfully so – Bauman was impressive for the majority of the combine with his natural build and length he ran better than I expected.

Despite struggling at times in team periods to get acclimated to the CFL ball and offensive tendencies, once every couple of throws he would uncork a ball that whistled through linebacker windows with tremendous pace and accuracy. He has huge upside and potential with the right coaching.

Kevin Mital | REC | Laval

Photo: Andrew Mahon/CFL.ca

The best player in Canadian university football two seasons ago came to the combine and made what I believe to be the most definitive statement of the 2024 combine.

Mital caught everything, competed with anyone who dared stepped his way in 12-on-12, and more often than not came out on top.

Luke Brubacher | DL | Laurier

Photo: Cameron Bartlett/CFL.ca

A walk-on at Laurier, Brubacher was the top overall combine tester of the 150 players who put down times between Waterloo’s Invitational Combine and the National showcase.

Where he fits exactly in a CFL scheme is dependent upon what each team sees in his game film, and while Waterloo’s Tyson Hergott has more impressive production and accolades, I fully expected Luke to attack the testing phase with a vengeance and he didn’t disappoint.

Christy Nkanu | OL | Washington State

Photo: Andrew Mahon/CFL.ca

When the bags start popping in offensive line individual periods, you always have to snap a head around and see who has that special lineman combination of balance, grace and power. Nkanu showed it all.

Michael Chris-Ike | RB | Delaware State

Photo: Andrew Mahon/CFL.ca

I had no idea that Michael Chris-Ike had the kind of pop he showed in testing and he followed it up with some great film in helmets and shoulder pads.

His build is impressive and his maturity will only earn more credit as the follow up interview process continues through April. Anyone who gets Chris-Ike will be a better team for taking the Hamilton native.

Benjamin Labrosse | DB | McGill

Photo: Cameron Bartlett/CFL.ca

While Laurier’s Luke Brubacher ‘won’ the testing phase of the combine, I don’t believe there was any more explosive player in attendance than Labrosse. He blew away even his own positional group on some tests, garnering rounds of applause from the same people he was competing directly against for attention.

Owen Mueller | OL | Windsor

Photo: Andrew Mahon/CFL.ca

Mueller was second in the offensive line bench press behind only Queen’s Ryan Berta and worked in well amongst the hulking offensive tackles of the CFL Combine from John Bosse to global Jasper Friis and Laval’s Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay.

I have to watch more of his game film to get the full understanding, but I was impressed on initial assessment.

Queen’s LB Olivier Muembi

Photo: Cameron Bartlett/CFL.ca

Similar to UBC defensive back Jerrell Cummings, Muembi showed up a little more ‘filled in’ than I expected and moved really well.

I liked the couple of times I caught him live in 2023 and his performance in Winnipeg only solidified interest from all corners of the country.

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