View Full Version : Canadian prospects fare well in NFL testing

04-05-2005, 06:11 PM
The NFL draft is just over two weeks away and none of the top four Canadian prospects has dramatically hurt his chances because of poor physical test results.
"Not at all," said Mike McCarthy, a former CFL GM and personnel director now serving as a scout with the NFL's San Diego Chargers. "In fact, I'd say at least one improved himself."
That would be McMaster running back Jesse Lumsden, who worked out privately for four NFL scouts last month. The six-foot-two, 223-pound Lumsden, who wasn't invited to the NFL combine - where many of the top draft prospects are tested in Indianapolis - showed impressive speed for a big man, posting 40-yard dash times between 4.40 and 4.50 seconds.
Ronnie Brown, Auburn's six-foot, 233-pound running back, had scouts talking at the combine with his 40-yard time of 4.48 seconds while California's J.J. Arrington was the fastest back in Indianapolis at 4.46 seconds.
"Jesse verified he has good speed, good quickness and good strength," said McCarthy, who wasn't at the workout because he was scouting south of the border. "Although he's a Canadian kid playing in Canada, he showed he has the athletic skills of a Division 1 player in the United States.
"He definitely improved himself."
McCarthy said NFL teams needing a running back now might secure Lumsden, a native of Burlington, Ont., late in the draft - slated for April 23-24 in New York - rather than take their chances trying to sign him as a free agent.
Most NFL teams have finished testing prospects and are now compiling the data into draft reports. Clubs can still bring in up to 20 players for visits, often using the time to conduct medicals or last-minute interviews.
Lumsden is also a top prospect for the CFL draft, which will be held April 28.
Lumsden claimed the 2004 Hec Crighton Trophy as Canadian university football's top player after setting single-season records of 1,816 yards rushing (10-2-yard average per carry) and 21 TDs.
Lumsden was invited to the East-West Shrine game in January and finished with 41 yards rushing on five carries in a 45-27 East victory.
On Thursday, Lumsden is scheduled to visit the Seattle Seahawks, who attended his workout.
On Tuesday, another top Canadian draft prospect was on the road. O.J. Atogwe of Windsor, Ont., a safety at Stanford, visited with the NFC-champion Philadelphia Eagles. The five-foot-11, 219-pound Atogwe is projected to go between the fourth and sixth rounds and is ranked fifth among draft-eligible safeties by NFL.com editor Vic Carucci. That's bad news for the B.C. Lions, who own Atogwe's CFL rights.
The top Canadian prospect remains Nick Kaczur of Brantford, Ont., a six-foot-four, 320-pound offensive tackle from the University of Toledo. Kaczur, who started as a freshman and is the first four-time All-MAC player at Toledo, is projected to go between the third and fifth rounds.
The scouting report on Kaczur is he's tough, plays with an edge and has solid quickness and agility. His weaknesses are his age - he turns 26 in July - and that he's a little light for NFL standards, although some teams - like the Denver Broncos - prefer smaller, more athletic offensive linemen.
Kaczur is also eligible for the CFL draft and would be a bona-fide first-round pick if he wasn't so highly regarded by the NFL.
The other prospect is Louis-Phillip Ladouceur of Pointe-Claire, Que., a six-foot-five, 257-pound long snapper from the University of California. McCarthy said if Ladouceur, whose CFL rights are owned by the Ottawa Renegades, isn't drafted, he'll certainly sign as a free agent.
Kaczur and Atogwe were the lone Canadians at the combine and both performed well there despite injuries.
Kaczur didn't do any weight-lifting because of a wrist sprain, but posted a decent 5.3-second time in the 40-yard dash. He later lifted for NFL scouts at Toledo, bench-pressing 225 pounds 22 times.
"Functionally, Kaczur is sound and has very good technique," McCarthy said. "He has a good explosive punch and can drive or steer a guy through the hole.
"We (NFL teams) all know he can play tackle but he'll probably get some work at guard too because when teams break camp they like to have linemen who can play both positions."
Atogwe had a 40-yard dash time of 4.51 seconds at the combine before suffering a hamstring injury. Still, Atogwe finished above the average time of players his size (4.57 seconds).
"O.J. plays well at the line and has very good strength (335-pound bench press, 525-pound squat)," McCarthy said. "He has good football sense and makes sound decisions.
"But man coverage is tough for him and there are some who think he will eventually be a linebacker in a 3-4 defence in the NFL."
Ladouceur was among the 21 Cal players who worked out for 20 NFL scouts March 8. Even as an undrafted free agent, Ladouceur could still fashion a decent pro career as a long snapper. He only need look at Montreal native J.P. Darche, who is entering his sixth season handling snaps with Seattle.
"Ladouceur's snaps are steady and consistent with good velocity," McCarthy said. "He also has good athletic ability (4.93 seconds over 40 yards) to get downfield quickly, a real bonus for your long-snapper."

Top of Page