B.C. Lions neg list QB (and potential Canadian) shines at Shrine Game

Quarterback Brett Rypien impressed NFL and CFL scouts at the East-West Shrine Game.

Rypien completed 10-of-14 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown in leading the West team to victory at Tropicana Field.

The nephew of two-time Super Bowl champion Mark Rypien displayed anticipation, accuracy, arm strength, touch and deep ball precision, which stood out on the 22-yard touchdown connection.

Rypien met with the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers while in Florida. That’s a solid number of teams considering the week is packed with various commitments relating to the privilege of being selected to the Shrine Game.

While the B.C. Lions own his negotiation list rights in the CFL, the 22-year-old’s NFL draft stock is rising. Rypien was born in Spokane, Washington but his father Tim hails from Calgary, meaning he is eligible for dual-citizenship. But Rypien has not yet applied for Canadian status, which means his name remains on the Lions’ neg list.

Many NFL scouts have given Rypien a draftable grade, viewing the Boise State University product as a candidate to make an NFL roster as a backup quarterback with the ability to develop and potentially become a starter.

Down the line, if NFL options dried up, Rypien could take a look at the CFL, but there are scouts from north of the border who feel Rypien might never apply for national designation given his West Coast roots. Unless the new collective bargaining agreement changes the dynamic for Canadian quarterbacks, there is little incentive for Rypien to alter his CFL standing.

As it stands, Rypien could sign a contract with B.C., knowing he would start his career near home. If Rypien decided to enter the draft, there is a chance he could be selected high which would mean a financial difference on the contract. But should Rypien be selected in the fourth round or lower the rookie deal could be nearly the same in terms of potential earnings while leaving the destination in the hands of the randomness associated with drafts.

Wherever Rypien begins his pro career in the NFL – it’s a matter of when not if Rypien gets chosen in the seven-round draft – playing at a high level in the NCAA will have him prepared for the competition. Rypien earned Boise State’s starting quarterback role as a freshman and put up a 40-13 win-loss record as the No. 1 pivot throwing for over 13,000 yards with 90 touchdowns against 29 interceptions.

Rypien’s calm, confident temperament in handling being the starter under the spotlight at a prominent college program bodes well for the future. The jump to the pro level always comes with an adjustment period, but if Rypien’s showing at the Shrine Game, where NFL coaches make up the staffs for both sides, is any indication it will be a quick assimilation.

Watching Rypien’s ascent throughout the draft process should be intriguing.

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