The sweat and determination that Scott Mitchell put into preparing for the Canadian Football League combine last month paid off on Tuesday.
Mitchell, an offensive lineman who will graduate from Rice University in May, is ranked No. 1 for the CFL Canadian draft by the CFL scouting bureau.
It’s one step up for the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Mitchell, who was second in the rankings that were released in December.
“It’s a pretty cool deal, man,” Mitchell told the Toronto Sun from Houston. “I went to that camp to prove something, and I proved it.”
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have the first pick overall in the draft on May 8 and general manager Joe Mack has maintained that he will hold on to the pick.
University of Calgary slotback Anthony Parker is ranked second after he was No. 3 on the previous list.
Making the biggest jump in the rankings was St. Francis Xavier linebacker Henoc Muamba, who moved seven spots to No. 3.
Philip Blake, an offensive lineman at Baylor, had been No. 1. But Blake has a year of NCAA eligibility remaining and did not participate in the combine, in Toronto on the weekend of March 4-6.
Mitchell’s performance in front of all of the major decision-makers from every team in one-on-one blocking drills and his good technique on the whole helped set him apart. All eight of the CFL teams interviewed him, and his passion for the game was clear in those get-to-know-you meetings.
“I’m just taking a little break now from training and I’m trying not to think of the draft too much,” Mitchell said. “I’m waiting patiently. I don’t have any control over it, and if Winnipeg takes me first, that’s what happens.”
The Argonauts had the fourth pick overall, but traded it to the Blue Bombers last week in the deal that sent quarterback Steven Jyles to Toronto.
Edmonton will pick second, followed by, in order, B.C.; Winnipeg; Hamilton; Calgary; Saskatchewan; and Montreal.>firstname.lastname@example.org
Final rankings for the CFL draft (previous ranking in paratheses)
1. (2) Scott Mitchell, 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, OL, Rice
2. (3) Anthony Parker, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, SB, Calgary
3. (10) Henoc Muamba, Six feet, 230 pounds, LB, St. Francis Xavier
4. (1) Philip Blake, 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, OL, Baylor
5. (5) Tyler Holmes, 6-foot-4, 330 pounds, OL, Tulsa
6. (4) Vaughn Martin, 6-foot-4, 330 pounds, DL, Western Ontario (San Diego Chargers)
7. (7) Nathan Coehoorn, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, WR, Calgary
8. (11) Hugh O’Neill, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, P/K, Alberta
9. (NA) Marco Iannuzzi, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, WR, Harvard
10. (6) Moe Petrus, 6-foot-2, 292 pounds, OL, Connecticut
11. (8) Matt O’Donnell, 6-foot-10, 329 pounds, OL, Queen’s
12. (NA) Junior Turner, 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, DL, Bishop’s
13. (13) Anthony Barrette, 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, OL, Concordia
14. (14) Matt Walter, 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, RB, Calgary
15. (NA) Paul Swiston, 6-foot-9, 342 pounds, OL, Calgary