Two Canadian prospects playing in today’s East-West Shrine Bowl

Photo courtesy: East-West Shrine Bowl

Today’s East-West Shrine Bowl will have some Canadian flavour.

Alberta offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell and Montreal defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy have made the trip to Florida for Saturday’s showcase game.

O’Donnell was a dominant blocker for the Golden Bears, punishing defenders with his power and physicality. Some scouts call him the best offensive lineman available in this year’s CFL draft, which is why he projects as a top-five pick.

Dequoy is a rangy defensive back with an impressive six-foot-three frame. The Carabins star projects as a CFL safety or strong-side linebacker who will make an impact early in his career on special teams.

The East-West Shrine Bowl has featured a number of Canadian prospects in the past who eventually made their way to the NFL. McGill offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Manitoba defensive lineman David Onyemata, and Laval tight end Antony Auclair have hashed out solid careers with the Chiefs, Saints and Buccaneers, respectively, in recent years.

Several other Shrine Bowl attendees went on the become first-round CFL draft picks, including Laval defensive lineman Mathieu Betts, Alberta offensive lineman Mark Korte, Manitoba offensive lineman Geoff Gray, Calgary offensive lineman Sean McEwen, and Laval offensive lineman Charles Vaillancourt. These examples are all recent, falling within the last five years.

O’Donnell and Dequoy may drum up enough interest this weekend to pursue NFL opportunities in 2020. If not, expect both to become first-round draft picks in May’s CFL draft.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.