Canadians Rising

Canadians Rising

British Columbia’s Bo Lokombo, Ontario’s Brent Urban and Quebec’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are three Canadians with a good chance of hearing their names called during the 2014 NFL Draft.

Photo LaurentDuvernaytradif.com, Andrew Dobrowolskyj

The draft consists of seven rounds, held May 8-10 in New York City.

Lokombo, a former star at W.J. Mouat secondary in Abbotsford, had a five-year career at Oregon.

Despite undergoing shoulder surgery in February, Lokombo helped his draft stock with a strong performance at the NFL Combine in April. He ran a 4.66 second 40-yard dash, which tied for sixth among all linebackers in attendance.

“I think I did best in the position drills,” Lokombo told the Vancouver Sun’s Mike Beamish. “I think I really excelled in my running, cover skills and playing well in space. Hopefully, teams noticed.”

Many mock drafts have Lokombo being selected in the 6th or 7th round. http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Abbotsford+linebacker+Boseko+Lokombo+eyes+draft/9781976/story.html

Brent Urban, a defensive lineman who played high school football at Lorne Park Secondary in Mississauga, has also seen his stock rise as the draft approaches.

NFL Draft Report’s Dave-Te’ Thomas recently reports that the fifth-year senior has morphed into one of Virginia’s best 2014 NFL draft prospects, and is making a fast rise on the draft boards. http://profootball.scout.com/2/1395356.html

Virginia coaches told ESPN that every pro scout who has been through Charlottesville in recent months left talking about how impressive Urban looked.

“He can be a dominant player,” Virginia Defensive Line Coach Vincent Brown told ESPN. “I think his upside is off the charts.”

Virginia was the first program to offer the 6′ 5, 295-pound Urban a scholarship. Many NFL scouts envision him as a prototypical 3-4 defensive end, and expect him to be drafted as early as the third round.

Mont-Saint-Hilaire’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a medical student at Montreal’s McGill University. The 23-year old offensive lineman has the type of raw skills that NFL teams covet.

“You can teach a player to play the game of football — whether it’s technique or angles or that sort of thing. You can’t teach them to be bigger, stronger or faster,” Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim told the Toronto Sun’s John Kryk. “And when you have the type of tools that he has, he’s a guy that people get excited about. (His intelligence) is the other thing that you have to like. You have to like the guy’s work ethic, and then the commitment that he has shown to the medical profession. I think he’s certainly going to be on several teams’ radars.”

“I don’t know that there’s anybody that’s too raw,” added Keim. “As long as you have the skill set, and you have the desire and the passion, you certainly have a chance to develop into a real player.”

The former CEGEP star is 6′ 5 and 315-pounds, and rated at or near the top of what Kryk calls “combine-compliant speed and athleticism drills” for offensive linemen at the combine. Kryk’s profile of Duvernay-Tardif can be found here http://www.torontosun.com/2014/04/27/canadas-top-nfl-prospect-juggles-pre-draft-visits-with-er-internship

Kryk reports that seven NFL teams flew in Duvernay-Tardif this month for an official pre-draft visit ahead of Sunday’s deadline: Green Bay, Kansas City, Miami, Arizona, Seattle, Buffalo and San Francisco. The Philadelphia Eagles also privately worked out Duvernay-Tardif in Montreal.

Two more quotes Kryk procured from NFL experts regarding Duvernay-Tardiff:

“He’s obviously got a lot of talent … I go back to the days of Mike Schad coming out of the Canadian ranks and he went in the first round. You’re looking probably at a third- or fourth-round pick here … But you’ve got to develop him. You’re not going to get much (out of him) as a rookie.”– Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

“A very interesting prospect. He’s got some size — very intriguing … Rare combo (of size and speed). So we want to do our due diligence and make sure, as close as he is to us, that we get this guy right.” — Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley

A fourth Canadian hoping to hear his name called at the draft is Notre Dame Captain T.J. Jones.

Jones is a middle-rounds prospect who is the godchild of former Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Raghib Ismail. Ismail told ESPN’s David Newton that “Jones is further along at this point in his career than he was in 1991, when he opted to play for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League instead of going straight to the NFL.” http://espn.go.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/5792/former-carolina-wr-impacts-potential-future-one

Brent Urban, Geoff Burke, USA Today

Brent Urban, Geoff Burke, USA Today

Complete list of Canadians in the NFL Draft (all-time):

Luke Willson – 5th round Seahawks 2013
Tyrone Crawford – 3rd round Cowboys 2012
Akiem Hicks – 3rd round Saints 2012
Philip Blake – 4th round Broncos 2012
Christo Bilukidi – 6th round Raiders 2012
Danny Watkins – 1st round Eagles 2011
Orlando Franklin – 2nd round Broncos 2011
Vaughn Martin – 4th round Chargers 2009
Austin Collie (born in Hamilton) – 4th round 2009 Draft – Colts
Nick Kaczur – 3rd round 2005, Patriots
OJ Atogwe – 3rd round Rams 2005
Teyo Johnson (born in White Rock BC) – 2nd round 2003 Raiders (now plays in UFL)
Nate Burleson (born in Calgary) – 3rd round 2003 – Vikings
Jesse Palmer – 4th round Giants 2001
Randy Chevrier – 7th round Jaguars 2001
Jerome Pathon – 2nd round – 1998 Colts
OJ Santiago – -3rd round 1997 draft Falcons
Tim Biakabutuka – 1st Round 1996 Panthers
Tom Nutten – 1992 7th round Rams
Tyrone Williams – 1992 – 9th round — Phoenix
Tony Mandarich – 1989 – 1st round – Green Bay
Tommy Kane – 1988 – 3rd round – Seahawks
Mike Schad – 1st round 1986 Rams
Rueben Mayes — 3rd round 1986 Saints
Chris Schultz – 7th round 1983 Cowboys