Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor has scouts believing he should get an NFL shot.
“I think he’s definitely talented enough. We’ll see what he does with his opportunity,” Seattle Seahawks scout Jordan Roberts said after the University of British Columbia pro day.
“I think he’s talented enough it just depends on what happens with the draft and where teams line up and all that and how teams value him.”
Seeing O’Connor live at his current stage has teams buzzing about prototypical quarterback size and special arm talent. There are going to be scouts and coaches who look at O’Connor just because of his frame and the background he has in four-down football from Baylor School in Tennessee, IMG Academy in Florida and earning a scholarship to Penn State University.
“He’s a very bright kid, he’s very smart and that’s very exciting. All the coaches and scouts talk very highly of him, his intelligence and his preparation is something that was always brought up with coaches that I’ve talked to here,” Roberts said.
“He’s definitely talented, he’s got a really quick release and he’s got the frame that you’re looking for and he’s a really exciting prospect.”
The UBC pro day was the second workout of the week in front of pro scouts for O’Connor, who threw at the NFL International Player Pathway Pro Day held at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training facility on April 1 in front of scouts from more than 10 NFL teams.
At the end of March, O’Connor put his skills on display for every team in the CFL at the league’s annual national combine. Edmonton Eskimos head coach Jason Maas saw O’Connor throw live for the first time at the event in Toronto and after travelling to watch his pro day live believes the standout pivot “absolutely” has a chance to be a great Canadian QB.
“He just needs a chance, an opportunity. You never know when you’re going to get that in the pro game, so he’s gotta be ready for it, but he’s doing all the things to prepare for that. Obviously a great college career, you could see the work ethic he’s put in every day, it’s showing in his drills. He looks calm and collected and he looks like a leader when he’s out there, so that’s kind of the little things that you’re looking for – consistency. I’ve seen him throw twice now live and it looks the same, so that’s what you’re looking for,” Maas said.
“First you start with his size and smarts, watching him on film you see it in person how personable he is with his players, the command he has on the field leadership-wise, you can see that. Watching the arm strength and the accuracy that he has, great feet, good size – I think he’s going to translate very well to the pro level. His film doesn’t lie, you watch the film – smart. accurate and tough and consistent – I think he can do all those things.”
The B.C. Lions had a large contingent of coaches and evaluators in attendance to watch O’Connor in Vancouver. As CFL scouts dig into O’Connor, there is a growing belief he could earn a roster spot and even be a backup quarterback in the league from the jump.
“He’s very different, he’s very special. He’s a guy that has great upside and has great ability. His lineage going to IMG, going to Penn State, then coming here and winning a national championship and then his production level. Some of the tools he has: he’s a big kid, he’s fluid, he has a great football IQ,” Geroy Simon, Lions director of Canadian scouting, said.
“He definitely is different than most kids that come out of USports.”