Canadians at the combine

Canadians at the combine

Three Canadians will participate in the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine, Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis.

Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford (Windsor), Baylor University Centre Philip Blake (Toronto), and University of Regina defensive tackle Akiem Hicks will all attend the annual event designed to help NFL teams prepare for the draft.

Crawford, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound Windsor native, led Boise State with 13 1/2 tackles for loss last year. The Catholic Central Secondary School graduate had formal meetings with the Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers and several other teams while in Florida for the 2011 East West Shrine Bowl All Star game.

“The scouts that watched film, they knew that I was a powerful defensive end, and they knew that I could collapse the pocket and stop the run,” Crawford told the Detroit Free Press after the 2011 East West Shrine Game. “I’ve just been trying to show that I have more moves in my pass rush, and I think I have been doing a pretty good job of that. I have been showing them that I have a little bit of speed off the edge, and I can also use my hands and use different moves to get to the quarterback.”

According to National Football Post draft analyst Wes Bunting Crawford is “a physical pass rusher who turns speed into power off the edge, understands angles and knows how to rush with leverage. I could see him fight for a starting job as a (4-3 defensive end) potentially early on.”

Crawford heads to the combine as a projected 3rd or 4th round selection at the 2012 NFL Draft (April 26-28).

After graduating from Toronto’s Father Henry Carr Secondary School in 2005, Blake, a Toronto native, honed his skills at Champlain Regional College in Quebec’s highly regarded CEGEP (prep level) league.

Like Crawford, the 6-foot-three, 320-pound centre is projected to be selected as high as the 3rd round in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Akiem Hicks, a native Californian, has also been invited to the Combine. Hicks spent the past two seasons with the CIS University of Regina Rams. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive tackle was selected as the top lineman in the Canada West conference last season, recording 35 1/2 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks.

PHOTO Robert Rogers