MONTREAL – Recruiting is indeed a very complex art, imagine you have to select athletes who are outstanding, but not good enough for the NFL. And that while analyzing different calibers like the NCAA, XFL, USFL, and NFL. Let yourself be transported into the unique world of CFL Scouting.
In the spring of 2022, Danny Macciusia and Byron Archambault met in Dallas for a free agent camp. They’re hoping to find a gem or two out there to join the Montreal Alouettes.
“It’s the least common way,” Archambault says from the start.
Often, more than 100 players – sometimes as many as 200 – appear in these trials where a very competitive atmosphere pervades due to the scarcity of positions to win.
On that day, the action takes place in a dome surrounded by low concrete walls. Archambault recalls being alongside Maciocia when the one-on-one confrontations between receivers and defensive backs began.
They are very alert when it is the turn of a receiver with an interesting physique.
“He roams the corner. But everybody fights so hard in these camps. The defensive backs are so aggressive, there’s no referee who supervises the drills. And there the defensive backs cling to the receiver and tackle him even before the ball comes in. It’s going to be an obvious penalty. But the receiver succeeds.” Catch And he was coming so fast that he fell, rolled, and slammed straight into the wall. To the point where we asked if it was true. He immediately gets up, takes the ball and returns to his position. Ha Catch He was amazing and didn’t say a word,” said Archambault, mimicking much of the scene.
Danny and I look at each other and say, ‘Well, he’s got something special about him. We did some more research, found pictures of his college career and ended up hiring him.” Byron Archambault
This recipient was Cool Spiker. The one who surprised and bewildered many Alouettes fans when he entered the scene at the end of the 2022 season, after spending the year on cut salary in the coaching lineup.
“He always kept going and always found a way to do a good job,” said Pierre-Yves Laverne, the Alouettes’ National Scouting Director.
Cole is from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, not Wisconsin. We don’t even have this team’s videos in our PC tools! Archambault explained by giving a good idea of the task that falls to the recruiting department that includes Eric Deslaurier, Jean-Marc Edme, Laverne, Archambault, and Alison Sobol.
Because in general, scouts focus on finding the best athletes wherever they go. But a layer of complexity has been added to the job of CFL scouting. They should forget about the exceptional athletes and rather identify those who won’t prove themselves in the NFL.
“You have to look for guys who aren’t good enough for the NFL, who are going to try or who are on edge,” noted Archambault, who also serves as special teams coordinator and assistant coach.
Every idea becomes valuable. For example, scouts for an NFL team can be great sources for letting them know who is in danger of being cut.
But it gets complicated when you add the USports (Canadian University Network), XFL, and USFL ratings. The challenge of having to adjust your sight, depending on the caliber, can blur the equation.
“That’s it, we have to constantly adjust our outlook and try to visualize the next move. Is this the guy who will compete to be a regular starter once he arrives? Will he need a year but is he worth the investment?” Archambault commented.
In addition, while holding CFL training camps, the Alouettes must spy on what is happening at the other clubs.
Byron Archambault“There’s some bread on a plank. I don’t work seven days a week, I work big six days because there are unlimited videos to watch. While the work is done by 4-5 people compared to more than twenty in the NFL, but we have a gang Great, and we work really well together.
“We like to discuss and discuss potential candidates. It creates a positive atmosphere. In other places, when you are less experienced, you don’t have a right to speak, you have to take your hole. It’s not like that here,” he continued.
In 2023, Archambault looks forward to seeing the development of three players who are found via the most common path, that of athletes who have yet to break through the NFL camp. He alludes to Mustafa Johnson, Jabari Ellis, and Nick Henninger.
Last season, Johnson ended up starting on the defensive line while Ellis scored after blocking a punt against the Argonauts.
Enthusiastic and adept at improving his busy schedule, Archambault concluded, “We are very confident about sending them into the field this year.”
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