The three best storylines heading into Saturday’s East-West Bowl

Preparations are finished and it’s almost game time at the East-West Bowl.

The West and East teams have completed a hectic week in Quebec City – testing and practising in front of pro personnel men while installing systems on all sides of the ball. Kick-off is slated for Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on the Laval University campus and the game can be seen live on the Laval Rouge et Or YouTube page.

Each CFL team had at least one scout in attendance throughout the week and when you see the number of payers drafted by three-down franchises it makes sense: 41 of 69 picks in the 2018 CFL draft were invited to the East-West Bowl in 2017.

2018 USport CFL draft selections:
First round
Mark Korte, OL, Alberta, first round, fourth overall, Redblacks
Dakoda Shepley, OL, UBC, first round, fifth overall, Riders
Darius Ciraco, OL, Calgary, first round, sixth overall, Ticats
Ryan Sceviour, OL, Calgary, first round, eighth overall, Stampeders

Second round
Godfrey Onyeka, DB, Laurier, second round, 10th overall, Eskimos
Jackson Bennett, DB, Ottawa, second round, 11th overall, Ticats
Micah Teitz, LB, Calgary, second round, 14th overall, Riders
Brett Wade, DL, Calgary, second round, 15th overall, Ticats
David Mackie, FB/LS, Western, second round, 16th overall, Lions
Eric Mezzalira, LB, McMaster, second round, 17th overall, Stampeders
Nelkas Kwemo, LB, Queen’s, second round, 18th overall, Argos

Third round
Regis Cibasu, REC, Montreal, third round, 20th overall, Argos
Andrew Pickett, OL, Guelph, third round, 22nd overall, Redblacks
Jean-Gabriel Poulin, LB, Western, third round, 23rd overall, Alouettes
Jordan Beaulieu, DB, Western, third round, 24th overall, Eskimos
Royce Metchie, DB, Guelph, third round, 25th overall, Stampeders
Daniel Peterman, REC, McMaster, third round, 26th overall, Bombers

Fourth round
KC Bakker, OL, Carleton, fourth round, 27th overall, Alouettes
David Brown, OL, Western, fourth round, 28th overall, Stampeders
Kene Onyeka, DL, Carleton, fourth round 29th overall, Redblacks
Mickael Cote, LB, Concordia, fourth round 30th overall, Redblacks
Tanner Green, FB, Concordia, fourth round, 32nd overall, Eskimos
Isaiah Guzylak-Messam, DB, Laurier, fourth round, 34th overall, Lions

Fifth round
Mathieu Breton, DL, Bishop’s, fifth round, 36th overall, Riders
Justin Lawrence, OL, Alberta, fifth round, 39th overall, Stampeders
Tyrone Pierre, REC, Laval, fifth round, 41st overall, Bombers
Dagogo Maxwell, DB, UBC, fifth round, 42nd overall, Stampeders

Sixth round
Tresor Buama-Mafuta, DL, Saint Mary’s, sixth round, 45th overall, Riders
Paul Kozachuk, LB, Toronto, sixth round, 46th overall, Alouettes
Rashari Henry, DL, Laurier, sixth round, 47th overall, Lions
Alex Taylor, RB, Western, sixth round, 48th overall, Eskimos
Matthew Ouellet De Carlo, OL, Bishop’s, sixth round, 49th overall, Bombers
Atlee Simon, RB, Regina, sixth round, 50th overall, Stampeders
Etienne Moisan, REC, Laval, sixth round, 51st overall, Alouettes

Seventh round
Will Watson, REC, UBC, seventh round, 54th overall, Lions
Richmond Nketiah, REC, Waterloo, seventh round, 56th overall, Alouettes
Gabriel Ferraro, K, Guelph, seventh round, 59th overall, Stampeders

Eighth round
Lekan Idowu, DB, Windsor, eighth round, 61st overall, Alouettes
Jacob Czaja, OL, St. FX, eighth round, 64th overall Redblacks
Nicholas Parisotto, DB, Guelph, eighth round, 66th overall, Ticats
Boston Rowe, LB, Calgary, eighth round, 68th overall, Stampeders

Best story: Maurice Simba

A native of the Congo, Simba hadn’t played in a football game when he arrived at Concordia University and spoke very little English. Offensive line coach Ted Karabatsos has mentored the six-foot-seven-and-a-half and 335-pounder since he arrived on campus and he’s developed into an All-Canadian calibre lineman – scouts are intrigued.

(Photo credit Mathieu Bélanger)

Best background
: Alexandre Savard

Savard can handle the heat, literally. He took a year off from football in 2013 to go through firefighting school at the Quebec Institute of Fire Protection in Laval. The chiselled slotback/tight end checked in bigger, stronger and faster than Antony Auclair when comparing the testing results, but Auclair was an elite blocker: it’s an area Savard knows he needs to develop under the tutelage of Mathieu Bertrand, former Laval star quarterback and long-time Eskimos fullback. Bertrand played a key role in the rise of Auclair and many around the program believe he can do the same with Savard.

Best quarterback: Michael O’Connor

From watching O’Connor throw during practices you would never know he suffered a ruptured appendix just a couple weeks ago: he feels fully healed and ready to play on Saturday. The word about O’Connor is already spreading on both sides of the border, sources say NFL teams have already begun doing homework on the Ottawa native.

(Photo credit Mathieu Bélanger)