It appears Canadians Chase Brown and Sidy Sow raised eyebrows at the '23 NFL combine.
Brown, a running back at Illinois, and Sow, an offensive lineman at Eastern Michigan, were among five Canadians at the combine, which concluded Sunday in Indianapolis. The others were Brown's twin brother, Sydney (defensive back, Illinois), Matthew Bergeron (offensive lineman, Syracuse) and Tavius Robinson (defensive lineman, Mississippi).
Draft analyst Chad Reuter listed Chase Brown and Sow on NFL.com Sunday among six players who impressed league officials at the combine.
Before the combine, Daniel Jeremiah of The NFL Network, suggested Chase Brown would be selected between the third and fifth rounds. He also expected Sow to be taken in the fifth round.
Reuter felt Brown would be drafted on the second day (during second/third rounds) but said Sow had moved up.
"Don't be surprised if he is picked in the third round or very early in the fourth round," Reuter wrote.
The six-foot-four, 329-pound Sow started 13 games last season at Eastern Michigan, allowing just two sacks in 949 snaps. The native of Bromont, Que., remains the school leader in games played (56) and started (54) and participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in California.
"Sow was one of my favourite senior offensive linemen throughout the 2022 season and he did not disappoint with his efforts in Indianapolis," Reuter said. "Teams will love his 33 5/8-inch arm and 10 3/8-inch hand measurements, 32-inch vertical and 5.07 40-yard dash.
"The six-foot-five, 323-pound guard looked fluid in position drills on Sunday, maintaining a low centre of gravity and moving quickly around cones. Sow's heavy hands popped the pads, as well, which was no surprise given the power he shows on the field."
This would mark the second time Chase Brown has garnered attention this off-season. The native of London, Ont., attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where he was named the National team's running back practice player of the week in voting by members of the squad's linebackers group.
The five-foot-11, 205-pound running back had a stellar '22 season, finishing fourth in NCAA rushing with 1,643 yards, averaging five yards a carry and registering 10 100-yard games.
He also had 13 touchdowns (10 rushing, three receiving) and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award as U.S. college football's top running back. Brown captured the Jon Cornish Trophy as the top Canadian in American college football.
"Chase Brown ran even faster than his brother, Sydney, a safety prospect who did quite well on Friday night with the combine defensive back group," Reuter said. "Chase’s 4.43-second 40-yard dash exceeded my expectations.
"He led all combine running backs with his 40-inch vertical and 10-foot-seven broad jump. Brown was solid during on-field drills, making cuts and catching passes with more fluidity than some of his fellow combine RBs. He's not going to break a lot of ankles in the NFL but I believe he displayed the speed and just enough shiftiness to be picked on Day 2 of the draft."
Bergeron, a towering six-foot-five, 323-pound Victoriaville, Que., native, is projected as the first Canadian to be taken in the April 27-29 draft. Jeremiah said he could see Bergeron being an early second-round pick, although some mock drafts have the left tackle as a late first-round selection.
Bergeron took snaps at both guard and tackle at the Senior Bowl.
The six-foot-six, 265-pound Robinson, of Guelph, Ont., recorded 44 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 13 games at Ole Miss. He also participated in the Senior Bowl and was projected as a possible sixth-round pick by Jeremiah.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2023.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press