Senior taking low-key approach to NFL draft

Justin Senior isn’t putting his life on hold for the NFL draft.

The 22-year-old Montreal native is projected as a late-round selection, but he won’t be at a lavish draft party glued to the television anxiously waiting to hear his name called.

“I’ll probably be in the gym Saturday,” the Mississippi State offensive tackle said. “I’m just a guy looking to get to work.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s still plenty to do.”

The six-foot-five, 331-pound Senior tops the list of Canadians who could be late-round picks or priority free agents this weekend. The draft begins Thursday in Philadelphia with the opening round, followed by the second and third rounds Friday.

The final four rounds go Saturday.

Other potential draftees include: Laval tight end Antony Auclair of Notre-Dame-des-Pins, Que.; UCLA defensive lineman Eli Ankou of Ottawa; and Manitoba offensive lineman Geoff Gray of Winnipeg.

Simon Fraser linebacker Jordan Herdman, who played in the Senior Bowl, could also join an NFL team as undrafted free agent. Twice the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s top defensive player, the Winnipeg native holds GNAC records for career (428), single-season (165) and single-game (26) tackles.

Senior was a three-year starter at Mississippi State, capturing the 2016 Kent Hull Trophy as the state’s top offensive lineman. He’s also the top prospect for CFL draft May 7.

It was a hectic off-season for Senior, who played in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 28 before competing at the NFL combine. He also participated in Mississippi State’s pro day before having a private workout with the Houston Texans.

“Honestly, yes it’s been a long process but I’m honoured to have had these opportunities,” Senior said. “It would be surreal (to be drafted) because I’ve always watched the draft and never thought I’d ever be in the picture.

“But to know I have a chance to have my name called is just crazy, it’s amazing.”

After months of being tested and interviewed, Senior can’t wait to learn where his football future lies.

“I’d love to be on a team again, to have teammates and kind of have a goal,” he said. ”I’m not really thinking about the draft … I’m just thinking about what I’m going to do when I show up to camp Day 1.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

It’s also been a whirlwind off-season for Auclair. After helping Laval win the Vanier Cup, the 23-year-old played in the East-West Shrine Bowl before auditioning for 17 NFL scouts at his pro day.

Then the six-foot-five, 257-pound Auclair, who’s the seventh-ranked CFL draft prospect, visited 10 NFL teams. Agent Sasha Ghavami said Auclair will watch the NFL draft with family and friends in his hometown.

“I think he’s done everything he has to in order to get consideration to be drafted,” said Ghavami. ”I’ve spoken to many teams, they all have him on their board so we’ll see … I’m confident (Auclair will be drafted).

“It (NFL draft preparation) is a crazy experience full of ups and downs. But it’s a fun time to be a football player and you have to feel privileged to be in that situation.”

Gray started three seasons at Manitoba, seeing action at guard and tackle. He played in the East-West Shrine game before attracting eight NFL teams to his pro day.

One of those teams, the Green Bay Packers, invited the six-foot-six, 315-pound Gray to Wisconsin for a visit. Gray is the CFL draft’s third-ranked prospect but his agent, Darren Gill, said all the mechanical engineering major wants is a chance to play in the NFL.

“I think he’s shown he belongs in a group of guys who’ve earned draft consideration,” Gill said. “He had a strong season, strong Shrine game and excellent pro day and now the process will take us wherever it does.

“He’s looking forward to a chance to prove himself and having gone through this process at every step, I think he’s felt actually more confident that he does belong. Once he gets that opportunity, he feels he’ll be poised to go in and compete … and to me that’s what matters most.”

The six-foot-three, 325-pound Ankou, the CFL draft’s second-ranked prospect, appeared in 38 career games at UCLA, registering 91 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. He posted 31 reps in the bench press at the Bruins’ pro day along with a 26.5-inch vertical jump and broad jump of nine feet seven inches.

Ankou reportedly worked out for the L.A. Rams, L.A. Chargers and Dallas Cowboys and visited the Indianapolis Colts and Packers.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in close vote

CALGARY — Nebraska’s Public Service Commission has approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route… Continue reading

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

TORONTO — One of Canada’s high profile weather forecasters is warning Canadians… Continue reading

Nebraska set to vote today on fate of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

CALGARY — Five commissioners in Nebraska are set to vote today on… Continue reading

Hippie cult leader Charles Manson dead at 83

LOS ANGELES — Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the… Continue reading

Tie new affordable housing money to outcomes, former watchdog tells Liberals

OTTAWA — Parliament’s first budget watchdog is warning the federal government to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month