Combine Performances To Watch For
Once again it’s that time of year to dive into the numbers and see who makes a splash at the CFL Scouting Combine. Of course this edition comes with the twist of being completed virtually, but that won’t change how athletic and versatile many of the athletes invited to participate are.
The wait for numbers is already painstaking, the knowledge that those numbers are difficult to standardize in a strange virtual combine setup twists the knife a bit more. With all that as the framework, 2021’s reality is that we will get numbers to performances to analyze and that in itself is worth celebrating to honour the preparation efforts of everyone involved.
Numbers show you something, but not everything. We all know they are part of a player’s assessment and can tell part of the story, but to get the full picture evaluators will always go back to game film and understanding the person behind the player.
With that said, let’s look ahead at who could send a message with their filmed performances in the coming days. A process as exact as having a pint and playing darts blindfolded with even so much as the East-West Bowl Combine to rely on.
Bench Press - Western Mustangs LB Myles Manalo & St. Mary’s OL Peter Kourtis
From watching him live and on game film, Mustangs LB Myles Manalo is always on balance and using his strong frame to make plays between the tackles. Whether or not he’s put in the work that usually leads to a big bench number remains to be seen, but he’s impressively built for in-game situations.
Similarly, Peter Kourtis is all of 6’5, 300 and consistently finishes blocks with arms extended. While the reach advantage of being 6’5 helps in games, it does hurt in the underwear olympics of combine testing. I’ll be interested to see where his strength measures up.
Vertical Jump - Saskatchewan Huskies DB Nelson Lokombo
Twitchy, explosive, cut. Three words I think of when it comes to Nelson Lokombo and usually three words that result in a big vertical jump. Lokombo doesn’t need a big combine to push his draft stock much farther North, but a jump or two out of the gym paired with some elite speed and quickness times will only cement what we know, he’s for real.
Broad Jump - Carleton Ravens DE/LB Shaiheem Charles Brown
Charles Brown has a natural burst and bend to his game off the edge that might not lead the way in broad jump, but put in context with his weight and position played I believe will yield a very respectable number that matches his play.
10-Yard Dash - Montreal Carabins OL Pierre-Olivier Lestage
The 10-yard split is always more important than the 40-yard dash for lineman, and when I watch Montreal’s Pierre-Olivier Lestage get out of his stance on a toss play to his side or reach to the second level without a defensive lineman in front of him I wonder how quick he’ll burst out of the starting blocks
40-Yard Dash - Toronto Varsity Blues REC Will Corby
At this point we’ve all heard about Regina Rams RB Kyle Borsa running a 4.38. As a track guy, that doesn’t surprise me and while it will help his draft stock I believe there is no player ready to jump up the board more with an exceptional combine that Will Corby.
With the majority of top end receiver prospects coming via the NCAA, Corby has a real opportunity over the next month to own his position and increase interest with a fast straight-line time.
Shuttle - UBC Thunderbirds LB Nick Cross
When I watch Nick Cross play football I see quickness and lower body explosion. He won’t be the fastest shuttle time overall, but scouts will undoubtedly be interested in his movement skills to see whether the hard hitting - yet undersized - linebacker has coverage potential or converts quickly to a kick coverage specialist.
Three Cone - Carleton Ravens LB Trevor Hoyte
Hoyte plays on his toes, has great closing speed and ability to react when shedding blockers and find the ball carrier. All of these suggest a solid three cone time as he puts on display a natural ability to twist and accelerate.
Marshall Ferguson is a former U SPORTS Quarterback, CFP Founder, Host & Director of Content. He is the voice of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, CFL.ca analyst and a fan of inside jokes, especially once he gets to be part of one.