Path Less Travelled

Path Less Travelled

For Several Canadian university football players, the long road to getting noticed by NFL scouts starts at a regional combine.

While Tyler Varga, Brandon Bridge, Brett Boyko and Christian Covington (all from NCAA schools) are attending the NFL’s main scouting combine in Indianapolis, several of their compatriots will have to attend smaller, local combines in order to get noticed.

NFL Scouts are, however, increasingly attending smaller regional combines, looking for raw talent that may have initially been overlooked.

As Sportsnet.ca blogger Justin Dunk points out in a recent story, the road to the NFL for Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Stefan Charles and Carolina Panthers offensive lineman David Foucault (both Canadian) began at these “smaller, lesser-known gatherings of execs and scouts.” http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/nfl/canadian-nfl-hopefuls-hit-regional-combines/

Both Charles and Foucault used a regional combine in Tampa Bay to earn invites to bigger, ‘Super Regional’ combines. Performances there then led to both players being signed as NFL free agents after the draft.

“Several years ago I recognized that the NFL regional combines were a good route for Canadians to get maximum exposure,” player agent Darren Gill, who represents Charles and Foucault, told Dunk for the Sportsnet.ca story.

According to Dunk, Université de Montréal linebacker BYRON ARCHAMBAULT is one of the Canadians who will be trying his hand at a regional combine before the 2015 NFL Draft. Archambault was the Quebec conference defensive player of the year. Dunk suggests in his Sportsnet.ca column that Archambault would have to “show well in the agility drills to make NFL player decision makers take a deeper interest.”

University of Manitoba receiver NIC DEMSKY and Western University defensive lineman DARYL WAUD are CIS stars who will reportedly be making an appearance at a regional combine. Demsky is a four-time CIS All Canadian. Waud, a former lacrosse player, played in the East-West Shrine Game (primarily for top NCAA prospects) in January.

Dunk also names Wilfrid Laurier running back DILLON CAMPBELL, Laval offensive lineman DANNY GROULX and fullback CHRISTOPHE NORMAND, and Simon Fraser receivers LEMAR DURANT and BOBBY POSPISCHIL as fellow Canadians who will be attending regional combines.

“All-Star games, school pro days, and the NFL Combine help a lot with the NCAA scouting process,” Rob Fry, an agent at Gil Scott Sports Management, told Sportsnet.ca’s Dunk. “[But] Canadian university prospects for the most part miss out on those extra opportunities to get in front of NFL scouts. The regional combines have become a great opportunity for talented Canadian prospects to be seen and evaluated in person by all 32 teams.”

Read Dunk’s full article here: http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/nfl/canadian-nfl-hopefuls-hit-regional-combines/