Dumoulin-Duguay brings his military experience to football in the CFL combine

The 6-foot-2, 293-pounder from Rimouski was among 84 prospects who showed off their skills ahead of the CFL national and global drafts on April 30.

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WINNIPEG – Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay has no problem with football coaches yelling instructions or criticism.

The Laval University offensive lineman spent nearly a year in the Canadian military and says basic training included long shifts starting at 4 a.m. and military personnel shouting orders.

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“It’s like on TV, maybe worse,” Dumoulin-Duguay said with a smile Sunday after this year’s CFL national combine concluded in Winnipeg.

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“I found out through the army that I felt it was a bit the same as football, which is why I love football. I love the discipline of football. If the coaches yell at me or something, I’m used to it.”

The 6-foot-2, 293-pounder from Rimouski was among 84 prospects who showed off their skills to the league’s coaches and general managers, all with the goal of being selected in the CFL’s national and global drafts on Sept. 30. April.

When the CFL Scouting Bureau released its winter draft rankings in January, Dumoulin-Duguay was listed at No. 18. The spring edition comes out in early April.

Seven of the top 12 players in the winter rankings were offensive linemen, but they were not at the combine due to preparation for the NFL draft (April 25-27).

This gave Dumoulin-Duguay more opportunities to make a good impression. Offensive lineman Christy Nkanu, a Montreal native from Washington State, was also at the combine and was the only other offensive lineman in the top 20 of the winter rankings (16).

Combine coaches made daily selections for the best player on offense and defense during practices. Dumoulin-Duguay got the nod for Day 2.

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Former CFL coach, general manager and current TSN analyst Jim Barker looked at the prospects and spoke with Dumoulin-Duguay.

“He was in the military, which gives him that discipline,” Barker said. “He is a tough guy. He is one of the great young men I have met on one of these combines.”

The only question mark about Dumoulin-Duguay is that he hasn’t played much college football, but he has the potential to improve a lot, Barker said.

Dumoulin-Duguay said he was not focused on school and that led him to enter the military from March to December 2018. After basic training, he needed to improve his English and took six months of language classes before he could be deployed to Vancouver. or Halifax.

He played senior soccer while taking the courses and his coach convinced him to return to the game. He left for Laval, but a sprained ankle limited him to four games in 2021. He played in all eight games the following season, winning the Vanier Cup as national champion and being named to U Sports’ first all-Canadian team.

He played the entire season last year and was an all-Canadian on the second team. He received an invitation to the East-West Bowl, which is for the top Canadian college players eligible for this year’s CFL draft.

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At the combine, he was the fastest offensive lineman in the 40-yard dash, with a time of 5.16 seconds. He tied for third with 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press and his vertical jump was 30 inches.

Dumoulin-Duguay was proud of his 18th place finish on the winter list and his performance at the combine, although he did not practice Sunday due to a hamstring strain.

“I think the tests I did during the combine went pretty well,” he said. “I’m very happy with that, so it shows the CFL teams that I’m ready for the big leagues.”

BIG HOPES

Barker said the combine revealed that teams have good options for the draft, particularly if they are looking for a linebacker with some professional experience like Joel Dublanko.

The Aberdeen, Washington native recently became eligible for the draft after receiving dual citizenship because his father was born in New Westminster, BC.

Dublanko (Cincinnati) spent some time in camp with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks. He played one XFL game last year and then seven with the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars.

“I think he’s a top-three pick,” Barker said. “It’s the safest bet that comes into a draft.”

The Edmonton Elks have the first pick. Coincidentally, Dublanko has family in Edmonton.

Three of the four catchers in the top 20 of the winter rankings attended the combine.

Barker described No. 20 Kevin Mital (Laval) as a big, good blocker and pass catcher similar to Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Nic Demski.

Mital, winner of the 2022 Hec Crighton Award for U Sports Most Outstanding Player, was the Coaches’ top offensive player during Day 3 of the combine.

“I think in the third and fourth round we’ll see guys that can legitimately play,” Barker said of the upcoming draft.

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