CFL draft profile: linebacker/defensive back Adam Auclair, Laval

Photo courtesy: Laval University, Mathieu Tanguay

Adam Auclair
Linebacker/defensive back

Height: 6’2
Weight: 213
Hometown: Québec City, Que.

Twitter: @AdamAuclair
Instagram: @auc2euce

Adam Auclair began playing football at the age of eight, following in the footsteps of his older brother Antony.

“We were always throwing the ball to each other in our street,” said Auclair. “I liked the physicality of the game and the athleticism it required. That’s why I started to play.”

Antony was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and has since appeared in 32 games with the club, making ten receptions for 84 yards.

“I was so proud of him. He worked really hard to go there and make the 53-man roster and it paid off,” said Auclair.

The brothers were teammates for one season at Laval in 2016, capturing a Vanier Cup at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Adam would go on to record 113.5 tackles and seven interceptions over the following three seasons as a key member of the Rouge et Or defence.

Auclair is one of many Canadian prospects whose NFL opportunities have been limited by the ongoing health pandemic. NFL teams usually hold rookie mini-camps following the draft where they look to sign a handful of unselected prospects.

Mini-camps have been cancelled for this year due COVID-19, which means Auclair will be unable to fulfill the invitation he received from an NFL club. Other prospects who likely would have garnered mini-camp invitations include Nathan Rourke (Ohio), Kétel Assé (Laval), Cameron Lawson (Queen’s), Mason Bennett (North Dakota), Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund (Southeastern Louisiana), Jack Cassar (Carleton), Dante Brown (Fort Hays State) and Marc Liegghio (Western).

One advantage for Auclair is that he completed his pro day prior to the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-March. Most prospects have been unable to complete formal testing leading up to the draft due to the cancellation of combines and pro days across North America.

Auclair also tested well, posting a 4.64 forty-yard dash, 18 reps on the bench press, and completing the three-cone drill in under seven seconds.

“I was so lucky to have a pro day. I wasn’t sure it would go ahead even two weeks before the event,” said Auclair. “I showed what I had to show at the right time. I think I showed well, so I’m happy.”

Auclair is one of the most versatile players in the draft at six-foot-two and 213 pounds. He played a lot of strong-side linebacker with the Rouge et Or, though he could contribute at a number of different spots in the CFL.

“I think I fit best in the CFL at free safety but I could also play weak-side linebacker or strong-side linebacker in certain packages on second-and-long,” said Auclair. “I hope the team that drafts me will be able to use my versatility and put me in a position to make plays.”

Teams are intrigued by Auclair’s versatility and have expressed interest in seeing him work at different positions.

“All the teams that have talked to me said that I have to be ready to compete at whatever position they put me in,” said Auclair. “They all want to see me at both positions — free safety and linebacker — and they’ll put me wherever I have the most success.”

Many French-Canadian prospects end up with in Montreal or Ottawa following the draft or free agency. The Alouettes and Redblacks like showcasing local talent and can provide a level of comfort for French-speaking players that may not be found elsewhere in the league.

Auclair doesn’t have any preference for where he plays, provided it’s at the professional level. There is virtually no language barrier for him, either, given that he attended Champlain College Lennoxville — an English language school located in Sherbrooke — during his Cégep year.

“My dream right now is just to be drafted and be a professional athlete. Whoever calls my name on the 30th, I’ll be very happy,” said Auclair. “I want to see something new. I’m prepared to go anywhere.”

Anonymous quote from a scout: “The definition of a ‘tweener’ — not a pure linebacker or DB. If you can scheme for him, though, he’ll make an impact.”

Projected round: 1-2

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.