Several Canadians rookies – including three with signed contracts – will be trying out for NFL teams this Spring.
CHRISTIAN COVINGTON, a six-foot-two, 289-pound defensive lineman, from Surrey, B.C., was the lone Canadian taken in the three-day draft. The Houston Texans selected the former Rice University standout in the sixth round with the 216th overall pick. Covington watched Saturday’s proceedings on TV in B.C. with about 45 family members and friends.
The Texans play just five minutes from Rice University, where Covington will graduate later this Spring with a degree in kinesiology and sports medicine.
“To have a team such as the Houston Texans, who are just right down the street, to be interested in this way, this is a dream come true for me,” Covington told reporters during a conference call.
In 2014 Covington recorded 20 tackles and three sacks despite missing four games with a knee injury.If he makes the Texans, Covington will join a defensive front that features veteran tackle Vince Wilfork and defensive end J.J. Watt, twice the NFL’s top defensive player.
“Everywhere you go you hear J.J. Watt,” Covington said. “To actually have a chance to be able to be on a team with him right now, that in itself is motivation for me to be able to come and perform with my best every day.”
As reported by Dan Ralph of the Canadian Press, NFL Network analyst Charles Davis praised Houston for selecting Covington.
“When you look at what he can get done, another one of those guys in the right situation (can get) up field, disrupt things, help out your football team,” Davis said after Houston made the pick. “In the AFC South you’ve got to disrupt everything Indianapolis does if you want to make headway.”
Kitchener native TYLER VARGA agreed to a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday after going unselected in the draft.
The Yale running back signed the agreement within minutes of the draft’s conclusion.
According to the New Haven Register, the contract is for three years, and Varga will receive a signing bonus.
“I was a little disappointed I didn’t get drafted, but at the same time I have the same opportunity now,” Varga told the Register. “This makes me more hungry. I will work harder than I am already.”
Varga was Canadian university football’s top rookie in 2011 at Western before transferring to Yale. In January, he became just the second Yale player ever to play in the Senior Bowl and was invited to the NFL combine.
BRETT BOYKO, a 6-foot-7, 301-pound Guard from Saskatoon, is the third Canadian who signed an NFL contract the weekend of the draft. Boyko was one of 16 undrafted rookie free agents signed by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Boyko is a four-time Academic All-Mountain West honoree and a member of the UNLV Dean’s Honor List. He also earned second-team All-MW honors following his junior and senior campaigns. Boyko earned a degree in psychology and is currently pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in public administration.
BRANDON BRIDGE, who was hoping to become only the second Canadian born and bred quarterback (Jesse Palmer, 2001) to be selected in the NFL draft, will attend the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie mini-camp next weekend. The former South Alabama Jaguar is hoping to follow in the footsteps of veteran Cowboy Tony Romo. Romo signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois after being bypassed in the 2003 NFL draft.
Several Canadians who played in the CIS have been invited to the New York Giants mini camp.
BYRON ARCHAMBAULT (LB Montreal Carabins), TEVAUGHN CAMPBELL(DB, Regina Rams), DARYL WAUD(DT, Western Mustangs), SEAN MCEWAN (OT, Calgary Dinos), SUKH CHUNG(G, Calgary Dinos) and LEMAR DURANT (WR, Simon Fraser) will all try to impress Giants coaches.
University of Richmond offensive lineman JACOB RUBY, who is from London, Ontario, was also invited to the Giants mini camp.
Campbell and Waud have also been invited to rookie mini-camp with the Washington Redskins. University of Manitoba RB Nic Demski will attend rookie mini camp with the Cleveland Browns.