McGill OT kills it in drills for NFL scouts, lines up four visits

DuvernayTardif_proday1

(Photos courtesy of our QMI Agency sister paper, Le Journal de Montreal)

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The best thing about Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s impressive pro day on Thursday?

He convinced himself of something he had just been hoping for.

“I think now I belong in the NFL,” the 23-year-old McGill University med student said in a telephone interview from Montreal, after exceeding most of his goals in an NFL scouting-combine style workout.

In front of talent evaluators from nine NFL and four CFL teams, Duvernay-Tardif killed it, as they say, in all three phases for an NFL-calibre offensive line draft prospect: power, agility and speed.

Measuring 6-foot-5 and weighing about a dozen pounds lighter than normal, at 298, Duvernay Tardif did the following indoors, all in rapid succession, as he was the only athlete auditioning:

*    bench-pressed 34 reps of 225 pounds. Only six of 50 offensive linemen benched more at the NFL scouting combine last month in Indianapolis;

*    twice had a vertical leap of 31.5 inches. Only two O-linemen at the combine leaped higher;

*    was mad he ran the three-cone ‘L’ drill in 7.3 seconds, even though no O-lineman at the combine ran it in under 7.3;

*    ran the 40-yard dash, depending on whose stop watch you gauged, in anywhere from 4.94 and 5.08 seconds. Only five OLs at the combine posted sub-5.0 official times in the 40;

*    leaped 9-feet-6 in the broad jump. Only Michigan’s Taylor Lewan — a likely Top 15 overall pick — jumped farther at the combine (9-feet-9);

*    Ran the short shuttle in 4.59 seconds. Only 10 OLs did it faster at the combine.

 

DuvernayTardif_proday2“I was super relaxed. It was just like another workout, and I was super happy at the end,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “Those are great numbers.”

So much so that they captured the interest of Gil Brandt, known as the “Godfather” of draft analysts, who wanted to know how each drill went.

“Yes, they’re good numbers,” Brandt said by phone.

Duvernay-Tardif proved he measures up athletically. His shortcomings, as he and football people well know, are his Canadian university football pedigree and his hampered development over the past three years, as a result of not having been able to practise more than once per week because of his demanding med-school studies.

Duvernay-Tardif said he spoke frankly afterward with reps from the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals.

DuvernayTardif_proday3“What they were saying is that I’m a good athlete and I move super well for my weight,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “The big question mark for them is just the level of competition I played against.

“But I wanted them to know I’m coachable and they can mould me into the player they want, whether it’s a tackle or guard or centre.”

CFL scouts from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary also attended. Duvernay-Tardif is the top-ranked Canadian prospect for May’s CFL draft.

“I think I had an impressive day, for sure,” he said. “There are still some steps, but I think I’m going in the right way.”

Among those next steps are taking official visits to NFL teams. And after having dinner with a Bills scout on Wednesday, Duvernay-Tardif has visits lined up in Miami, Arizona, Cleveland and Seattle.

More are sure to follow.

“Yeah, we’re going to send that pro-day tape to all 32 NFL teams,” he said.

“Teams are so honest with you. Up until now I never knew what teams were thinking about me. Now I know that from every measurable way, I belong.”

DuvernayTardif_proday

 

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