REGINA — The CFL Combine presented by adidas kicked off Friday morning in Regina with the broad and vertical jumps.
With 50 prospects on hand at Evraz Place, explosiveness was what the scouts were looking for and Jonah Pataki (running back, Queen’s) and Fabion Foote (defensive lineman, McMaster) provided it in spades.
Pataki led the field on Friday with a 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump and a 36.5-inch vertical while Foote checked in with a 9-foot, 11-inch broad jump to lead all defensive linemen.
But in the end, no one could touch either mark set by Malcolm Carter of the Ottawa Sooners (CJFL), whose regional results stand as the best in show:
Coaches, general managers and scouts from across the country assembled on Friday to get a first-hand look at some of the top available talent in the 2017 CFL Draft, slated to take place on May 7.
For them, says CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson, the combine is more than just numbers.
“When guys come out and do their tests, there are the things that matter like the numbers and the way they carry themselves,” said Ferguson. “And then there are the little things that every scout will pick up on.
“Boateng intentionally wore the tightest clothing I’ve ever seen and the shortest shorts ever to show off that he has tree trunks for legs.”
While Carter recorded a 40-inch vertical at the Eastern Regional Combine in Montreal on March 10, the former Carleton Raven wasn’t able to match it on Friday, settling for a 34-inch jump.
“Not as happy with it because I did drop quite a bit but I feel like that’s because I wasn’t training as hard during the last week and was resting more,” said Carter afterwards. “I want to be 100 per cent for one-on-ones later on in the week.”
Malcolm Carter’s broad and vertical jumps have him number one in the field (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)
Pataki’s 36.5-inch vertical topped the competition on Friday, while the running back out of Queen’s showed consistency in the broad jump by following up his 10-foot, 3.5-inch broad jump at the Ontario Regional Combine with a 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump in Regina.
“His regional combine numbers were crazy,” said Ferguson. “That’s the fourth best broad jump ever for a running back. That just goes to show lower body explosion stuff.”
The key for Pataki, Ferguson added, will be his performance in the 40. That happens on Saturday.
“For his 40, that’s the one concerning thing about him,” said Ferguson. “For a guy that jumps so well and is that quick, his shuttle time is amazing but his 10, 20 and 40 are kind of all average so that would be my one concern that the scouts will probably wonder about.”
All of the top five broad jumps were recorded at regional combines. Outside of Pataki, Carter (10 feet, 3 inches), Robert Woodson (10 feet, 0.5 inches) Ante Milanovic-Litre (9 feet, 11.25 inches) and Fabion Foote (9 feet, 11 inches) had the best jumps of the day.
Foote’s broad jump nearing 10 feet stood out for Ferguson, while Laurier’s Boateng also turned heads for players of their stature.
“It’s impressive what they did with their jumps because of their weight,” said Ferguson. “When they get on the bench tonight, they’re going to put up big numbers on the bench. They’re both going to be 30 plus reps.
“To put together a vert like that to show the lower body explosion and then to add that to your bench and to show that you have weight on your body and show that you can move it is huge for those two guys.”
Fabion Foote likely helped his draft stock with a solid showing on Friday morning (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)
Next on tap is the bench press, which takes place Friday night at 9 p.m. ET. Those who turned heads Friday morning have a chance to build on the momentum.
“I’m hoping for anything above, or close to 10,” said Carter. “That’s also what I worked on because I wanted to get my bench up because I realized it wasn’t as great as it should have been.”