March 28, 2024

Draft Ready: 5 things to know about OL Ethan Kalra

Andrew Mahon/

Ethan Kalra’s goals for the CFL Combine presented by New Era were to show teams across the league what he’s actually about.

“I’m more mobile, I’m more of an athlete. I can move better and faster than some other people can,” he said as the combine was just getting underway in Winnipeg.

“I want to show that with the drills and that I’m versatile, too. I can play a bunch of different positions. Wherever they need me to play, I’m ready to do it.”

The Waterloo offensive lineman made his way onto scouts’ radar later in the evaluation process, being one of the eight players that made their way out of the CFL’s Invitational Combine earlier in March.

After the combine,’s Marshall Ferguson said that he saw Kalra as an outside guard at the next level and someone that he thought might hear his name in the third or fourth round of the CFL Draft on April 30.

CFL COMBINE presented by New Era
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» Watch Sunday’s practice session on CFL+
» The 2024 CFL Draft: See where your team picks


The numbers 

Height: six-foot-two
Weight: 307 pounds
Bench: 24 reps
40-yard dash: 5.49 seconds
Vertical: 23.5 inches
Broad jump: Eight feet
3 cone: 8.07 seconds
Shuttle: 4.9 seconds

By invite only

Kalra learned in January that he’d made the list of prospects that could play their way into the CFL Combine, via the CFL’s Invitational Combine, held on March 8 on his home turf at the University of Waterloo. It’s a high-pressure environment, where only a select few out of the dozens of players in the building move on. That didn’t stress the legal studies and business student.

“Honestly, I feel like my training going into it had a lot to do with (advancing),” Kalra said.

“I’ve been training with Jesse Collins in Waterloo, so I felt super prepared going into it. I focused more on each individual drill and just doing well on that one then moving on to the next. There was a little bit of pressure, I obviously did want to make it to (Winnipeg). But also I felt prepared and I felt ready. I just felt good about it and stuck to it.”

Kalra showed improvement in the vast majority of his testing at the combine in Winnipeg.

Anyone else’s parents meet via tackling? 

Kalra comes from an athletic family. Both of his parents played rugby at the University of Guelph. His mom, Helen, loved the game and without a women’s team at Guelph, became the first-ever woman to play on the men’s team. It was there that she met Peter Kalra, with their introduction coming via her tackling him in practice.

“From what he’s told me, he got tackled by someone and was like, ‘Who was that?'” Ethan said. “It was my mom.”

Helen played the one season with Guelph, before a rule was put in place that prohibited her from returning the next season. Ethan said it was put in place out of concern for her safety in a physical game. She went on to play for Team Canada, suiting up for the 1991 and 1994 Women’s World Cup and retired as the club’s captain.

“My dad likes to attribute my athletic ability to her and not himself,” Ethan said.

Represented by a known d-lineman

Kalra heads into his pro career with an agent that many Canadian football fans will recognize: Kwaku Boateng.

The former Edmonton Elk and Hamilton Tiger-Cat was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 CFL Draft. He coached the defensive line at his alma mater, Wilfrid Laurier University last year and started Sacks for Racks, where he trains players individually. Kalra was urged by his Waterloo teammate, Tyson Hergott, to reach out to Boateng about representation.

“I sent him the email and he called me five minutes later and said, ‘You know, I don’t believe in coincidence,” Kalra said.

“The one thing I really like about him is that he has played the game so he understands, but more importantly in a way, he’s also a businessman. I think he’s conducted himself really well.”

From the field to the bar

When Kalra’s playing days come to an end, he wants to take the next step from his legal studies major and go to law school.

“I think that’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” he said. “I took a legal studies class in high school and I really liked it and then I enrolled in that university. I think that it’s definitely the path I want to take.”

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