No contract for Canadian QB O’Connor after NFL mini-camp

Photo credit: Mathieu Bélanger
Photo courtesy: Mathieu Bélanger

Canadian quarterback Michael O’Connor attended the Seattle Seahawks rookie mini-camp from May 3-5, but did not receive a contract offer after it was over.

The Seahawks sent a scout to O’Connor’s University of British Columbia pro day in April.

O’Connor was chosen by the Toronto Argonauts in the third round, 20th overall during the CFL draft. The focus for O’Connor shifts to making the Argos roster.

He attended the CFL combine from March 22 to 24, interviewing with six of the nine teams, and played in the FCS Bowl during the month of December, completing 9-of-12 passes for 70 yards and has been training at IMG Academy in Florida. The Ottawa native has prototypical quarterback size: six-foot-five, 225 pounds and has been productive wherever he’s played.

During his high school years, O’Connor threw 51 touchdown passes in Grade 10 at Ashbury College, attended Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and moved on to play at IMG Academy in Florida under the tutelage of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke. He led the team to an 8-2 record in 2013 throwing for 1,804 yards and 18 touchdowns in 10 games. He was the No. 6 ranked high school quarterback by ESPN and played in the Under Armour All-American Game, the only Canadian prospect to be invited that year.

Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, who spent time as Tom Brady’s quarterback’s coach and offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, recruited O’Connor and wanted him to play in his pro-style offence. But before O’Connor arrived on campus, O’Brien left the Nittany Lions to accept the Houston Texans head coaching job.

James Franklin took over as head coach and Christian Hackenberg was the starter until he was picked in the second round by the New York Jets in the 2016 NFL draft. Despite O’Connor going 11-for-16 for 81 yards in Penn State’s spring game, he redshirted in 2014 and then transferred to the University of British Columbia. Year one with the Thunderbirds saw O’Connor light up defences while leading the team to a National Championship in 2015.

Argos general manager Jim Popp has given a number of Canadian quarterbacks a chance during his time as a general manager in the CFL. Toronto has O’Connor along with national pivots Brandon Bridge and Noah Picton currently on the roster. O’Connor will try and emerge from training camp as a roster player.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.