While game film trumps all, the one-on-one compete sessions at the CFL Combine are the last opportunity for prospects to sell themselves to CFL teams. They absolutely can be valuable to the scouting process.
The most even compete session was between the offensive lineman and defensive lineman, and in hopes of getting the most accurate idea of how each prospect performed in this competitive environment, each individual was graded on a scale of -3 to +3 on each play. The results show you who, exactly, helped their draft stock with a positive one-on-one performance.
1. RG Charles Vaillancourt, Laval (+6 in 7 reps)
Vaillancourt quietly went among his business, grading negatively on just one play. He took snaps at each position along the interior, including three at centre, and showed off his ability to be powerful while going backwards in pass-protection. His hand-placement was exceptional, as he didn’t allow one tackle to even get in position to try to use a swim or rip move, and he managed to keep his feet in good position against stunts/speed rushers. The big, 325-pounder was a little slow out of his stance, but has learned over the years how to compensate for that by staying balanced and sinking his hips at the point of attack.
2. C Michael Couture, SFU (+4 in 6 reps)
Taking reps at all five positions, Couture likely had the best one-on-one session of all offensive lineman. Scouts were concerned with his weight heading into the combine, as he regularly played at 275-pounds at Simon Fraser, but weighed in at a healthy 292-pounds on Friday. Couture showed off his versatility in one-on-ones, which coaches will love, as well as good footwork and exceptional hand placement. He was fast out of his stance, quickly proving that he might just belong in the top-tier of offensive lineman in the draft class.
3. LT Jason Lauzon-Seguin, Laval (+2 in 8 reps)
Lauzon-Seguin took the majority of his snaps at left tackle and was essentially immune to bull rushes, handling the power move handily. It was disappointing to see the 26-year-old, who’ll be an interior offensive lineman in the CFL, only get one snap where he wasn’t playing tackle, lining up in an unfamiliar center position and getting dominated by Rupert Butcher. His footwork needs improvement but he showed off accurate first steps and a lot of power as a run blocker.
4. RT Jamal Campbell, York (+1 in 8 reps)
Campbell, who has the size to be a professional offensive tackle, had a streaky performance with some dominant plays and some disastrous plays. Campbell’s inconsistency is an indicator that he needs work on his technique, but the raw talent is absolutely there. He’s powerful, quick with his kick steps and demonstrates patience, particularly on a rep where UBC DE Boyd Richardson tried to rush inside with a swim, which Campbell stopped with a shot to his ribs. Campbell, who ran a fantastic 4.98 40-yard dash, could be the best developmental offensive lineman in the draft.
5. RG Sean Jamieson, Western (-1 in 7 reps)
Jamieson confirmed he’s the stout run blocker that he is on tape, dominating his defender as a right guard and right tackle to open the one-on-one session. Despite being unfamiliar with the position, Jamieson was most effective with the angles from playing tackle. He was beat badly on two separate reps by a rip and a swim move at guard but held his own against bull-rushes. Overall, stock down for the 2014, 2015 first-team All-Canadian.
6. LG Phillippe Gagnon, Laval (-2 in 8 reps)
Despite a couple bad reps, Gagnon showed scouts what they wanted to see and didn’t do anything to hurt his stock. The Laval product squared up well his defenders and rode them away from the quarterback. The player who had Gagnon’s number was Western nose tackle Rupert Butcher, who was unpredictable and dominated every offensive lineman with a variety of different moves.
7. LT/LG Roman Grozman, Concordia (-9 in 8 reps)
Grozman was the only other offensive lineman who took reps at every position, and that decision may have hurt his draft stock more than it helped. Grozman excels at winning battles with raw strength once engaged with the defender, but it’s putting himself in a position to engage that is the Concordia product’s issue. He was burned on four occasions: twice by swim moves as a guard and twice with speed rushes as a tackle. Grozman clearly has a lot of room to improve as a pass-blocker.
8. RG Zachary Intzandt, McMaster (-12 in 7 reps)
Simply put, Intzandt had a very disappointing session, and his lack of experience as an offensive lineman really showed up. Although the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder shows a lot of upside on tape, he was dominated on Sunday. His hand placement was terrible, making himself vulnerable to all kinds of pass-rush moves and giving Philip Denzel the easiest swim-move of his career. Intzandt simply wasn’t physical enough.
1. NT Rupert Butcher, Western (+18 in 9 reps)
Butcher had one of the most dominant performances in CFL combine history. The huge, 6-foot-4, 327-pound Western product displayed fantastic hands – he had three clean swim moves that earned +3 grades – as well as good explosion out of his stance and power, earning two +3 grades and a +2 grade for three dominant bull-rushes. Butcher was unstoppable the entire session, improving his draft stock drastically. Butcher could become an even better player if he loses some weight and gains some shiftiness.
2. DE John Biewald, Western (+6 in 4 reps)
Although Biewald had a productive session, he likely didn’t do anything for scouts to overlook how undersized he is at only 225-pounds. It also didn’t help that he took only four reps, which can raise questions about his competitiveness. Biewald’s lack of size limits him to being strictly a speed-rusher, something you simply cannot get away with at the professional level. His lone non-speed rush was a spin move, which Jamel Campbell handled perfectly.
3. NT Quinn Horton, SFU (+4 in 8 reps)
Horton won three reps cleanly with rip and swim moves, demonstrating good hands and quickness around the guard/center. While not necessarily penetrating into the back-field, he pushed the pocket on bull-rushes enough to be effective in a game situation. Horton stood upright off the snap on a couple snaps, however, and can sometimes rely on upper body power and his hands instead of using leverage and knee bend. Regardless, I think Horton, who’s looking like he could be a third-round pick, really helped himself this weekend.
4. DE Daniel Tshiamala, St. FX (+4 in 5 reps)
Similarly to Ron Omara last season, Tshiamala, a natural middle linebacker, showed off his versatility by taking snaps as a defensive end. He showed a lot of upside in the process, winning three reps with speed rushes, demonstrating a good jump off the ball, agility and use of leverage.
5. DE Michael Kashak, McMaster (+3 in 6 reps)
Kashak had himself a solid day, displaying great burst, speed off the edge and use of leverage, which was a pleasant surprise as he was seen as more of a power-rush player before. He’s an agile, fluid runner with a relentless motor and received a positive grade on every speed-rush. Kashak’s stock has risen drastically today, proving he’s not a one-dimensional pass-rusher.
6. DE Boyd Richardson, UBC (Even in 5 reps)
Richardson got off the ball fast and demonstrated a great speed-rush. His best play of the session showed off all his athletic traits; Richardson jab-stepped to the inside of LT Jamel Campbell, used a rip move to get back to the outside and then blew by the helpless lineman with speed. Richardson still needs to bulk up and gain strength, which could effect his quickness.
7. DT Donnie Egerter, Guelph (-1 in 4 reps)
We needed to see more from Egerter, who was dominated by the top-tier of offensive lineman on bull-rushes. He graded positively on two plays, but both were bull-rushes on McMaster RG Zachary Intzandt, who had a rough day. Egerter, who took a rep as a left guard, didn’t display the athletic traits needed to be successful in the CFL in the four reps he took.
8. DT Tarique Anderson, Delaware State (-2 in 11 reps)
Anderson was easily the most ineffective of all defensive lineman, confirming his flaws that appear on tape. He struggles mightily to block-shed or perform moves with his hands, and hasn’t figured out a way to compensate for that. He’s a stiff athlete that can’t really control his movements or be agile. Scouts will like the fact that he took 11 reps, but he ultimately didn’t manage to do anything with the additional opportunities.
9. DE Denzel Philip, Eastern New Mexico (-4 in 8 reps)
Although he had the worst grade, Philip really didn’t do anything to hurt his stock and he certainly is not the worst of this defensive line group. He was arguably the fastest defensive lineman out of his stance and is clearly very competitive. But he was largely ineffective on his bull-rushes despite that being his trump card as a large, powerful defensive end. As a tight athlete who also lacks the lateral quickness to play defensive end, Philip is projected as a three-tech DT in the future. He beat Roman Grozman and Zach Intzandt cleanly with swim-moves in two of his three reps at defensive tackle.