Inside the CFL: Ready for the CFL Draft
By Ted Michaels, CFL Columnist
Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - It appears Shamawd Chambers has a chip on his shoulder.
Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford, University of Saskatchewan offensive lineman Ben Heenan and Chambers, a receiver from Wilfrid Laurier University, are the top three ranked prospects heading into Thursday's 2012 CFL Canadian Draft, according�to the CFL Scouting Bureau.
Both Heenan and Chambers had solid performances at the CFL Evaluation Camp in early March, helping them remain at the top of the latest scouting bureau ranking. Crawford did not attend the CFL Evaluation Camp.
Chambers, who moved up from No. 4 to 3, had the best time in the 40-yard dash at March's evaluation camp, clocking 4.42 seconds.
"I don't want people to say that the main reason I'm where I am is because of what happened at the E-camp," Chambers told a conference call. "To be honest with you, I wasn't really satisfied with what I did at the CFL combine. I thought I could run faster and jump higher. I don't want to be known as just a great athlete, but as a great receiver. That bothers me sometimes."
That comment piqued the interest of the media, which pressed Chambers to expand on his comments.
"You don't want to be looked at only as just a great athlete all the time, especially in a game like football," he said. "Everyone is a great athlete. Everyone who plays this game is a great athlete. You have to be. I had a chance to work with (former NFL receiver) Cris Carter in Florida and I've worked with some great receiver coaches, and I think they really helped me in honing and developing my skills. I think I developed a lot in my four years at Laurier, and I think I have a really big upside. I have a lot to develop, but all of us have a lot."
Chambers, who is the perfect size to be a CFL slotback, 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds, had a career season in 2011, with 36 catches for 562 yards and five touchdowns.
However, CIS insiders who watched Chambers play at Laurier say his apparent lack of intensity, and disinterest at times, could play a big part in how high, or how low, he goes.
On the other end of the emotional scale was Heenan, who didn't appear to be bothered at all by the news that he dropped from No. 1 to 2.
"Tyrone's an incredibly gifted defensive end and he's got a fantastic college resume, so it wasn't a huge deal to me," Heenan said. "I've said before, it's not so much where I'm chosen in the draft, it's what I do once I'm in the league."
Heenan, a 6-4, 310-pounder from Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan, admits he's not trying not to get caught up in all the excitement.
"It's kind of a dream come true," Heenan said. "It's something you work towards for your entire college career, if not your high school career. Everyone dreams of being able to play the sport that they love. For myself, to be so close to that, it's very rewarding."
The Saskatchewan Roughriders currently hold the top pick in the draft and while the football-crazed province of Saskatchewan would love to see Heenan suit up in Green and White, the Edmonton Eskimos appear to be very interested in Heenan.
The Eskimos, who already have the sixth overall selection, also have the No. 2 pick because of the blockbuster trade in December when they sent quarterback Ricky Ray to the Toronto Argonauts.
Last Thursday, Heenan met with Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed and toured the new Commonwealth Stadium facilities. Heenan says playing in the 2012 East-West Shrine Game gave him a lot of exposure, and that it has led to some interest stateside.
"There's been a handful of teams that have shown interest in me, so we'll have to see what happens after the NFL Draft shakes down."
While Heenan wasn't selected in the NFL Draft, the top-ranked prospect was.
Crawford, who stands 6-4, 275 pounds, was the 81st overall pick. He was drafted in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys and was the first Canadian selected in the draft. The big question surrounding the Windsor, Ontario native, is, will any CFL team take a chance on drafting him, knowing that they can't match the money that Crawford will make from the Cowboys?
Offensive lineman Austin Pasztor, a 6-7, 305-pound offensive lineman from Virginia was ranked No. 4.
Linebacker Frederic Plesius from Laval is No. 5. Plesius, who redshirted at Baylor, before heading back to Quebec to take care of his sick mother, compared the coaching he received at both institutions.
"I had good coaches at Laval," he said. "Maybe as good as what I got at Baylor. They made me a lot better in the three years I was there."
He didn't appear to be concerned how a team uses him once he is drafted. There have been suggestions the 6-1, 245-pound native of Laval, Quebec, would be a prototypical CFL rush end. Plesius knows the onus is now on him to perform at a high level.
"The team that is going to draft me is the team that is going to need me," he said, "and I'm going to have to compete and take the spot off the guy in front of me."
Christo Bilukidi, a 6-5, 307-pound defensive lineman at Georgia State, who was ranked No. 6, also was an NFL draft pick. The Oakland Raiders selected Bilukudi in the sixth round, 189th overall.
Defensive end Ameet Pall, 6-0, 245 pounds, played at Wofford was ranked seventh on the list. Pall was the co-runner-up for the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award in the Football Championship Subdivision, but had a subpar senior season while facing many double-teams.
Eastern Michigan defensive tackle Jabar Westerman, Simon Charbonneau-Campeau, a receiver from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec), and Matt Norman, an offensive lineman from Western University (London, Ontario) round out the rest of the Top 10.
The 2012 CFL Draft starts at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter on AM900 CHML.
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04/30 11:32:19 ET