2024 CFL Draft profiles: Laval OL Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay happy to bury hatchet with rival Montreal Carabins

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Nathaniel Dumoulin-Duguay didn’t use the CFL Combine as an opportunity to show off his Vanier Cup ring to fellow prospects, nor did he stir up any hostility with players from the arch-rival Université de Montreal Carabins.

Instead, the Université Laval standout went about his business quietly, letting his stellar performance for CFL scouts speak for itself.

“I’m not a show-off. I’m a very humble guy,” Dumoulin-Duguay told 3DownNation with a smile. “We might be teammates next year, so we have no choice but to get along.”

The native of Rimouski, Que., a small maritime vocational city located near the New Brunswick border, is every bit as modest as his roots would suggest.

He speaks carefully, almost shyly, though his English is quite good. He spent almost a year in the army before committing to Laval, where he became accustomed to following strict orders with military-like precision (literally).

Dumoulin-Duguay’s attention to detail was on full display in Winnipeg where he took reps at tackle, guard, and centre, making him arguably the most versatile offensive lineman in this year’s draft class. He played exclusively at left tackle with the Rouge et Or but cut his teeth along the interior of the offensive line while previously playing at Cégep de Rimouski.

“I’m taking all the reps that I can, so if there’s a spot at centre free, I’m going to do it,” he said. “It’s very important and I think that it’s a very big advantage for me.”

The 24-year-old was the second-lightest offensive lineman at the CFL Combine, weighing only 293 pounds. He felt he was best able to showcase his mobility at that size and said CFL teams didn’t raise any concerns about his weight during interviews. He also said it would be easy for him to get heavier at the professional level if he was asked him to do so.

In some ways, Dumoulin-Duguay is a breath of fresh air coming out of Laval. The program was once considered an offensive line factory but that trend cooled over the past decade after a number of first-round CFL draft picks didn’t pan out. The Rouge et Or play smashmouth football and train accordingly, leading some CFL talent evaluators to write off their offensive line prospects as being too heavy or too physically worn down.

Dumoulin-Duguay played only 20 career games at Laval due to the cancellation of the season 2020 and a high ankle sprain he suffered in 2021. He also dominated the testing at the CFL Combine, leading all offensive linemen in the forty-yard dash, broad jump, three-cone drill, and shuttle. He also finished second in the vertical jump and tied for third in the bench press.

“I feel very, very good about it. I said in an interview that I was going to do better than the other o-linemen, so I did it and I’m very proud of it,” said the two-time U Sports All-Canadian. “It’s a big honour to represent the Laval Rouge et Or like that.”

For CFL teams that covet athleticism and versatility along the offensive line — and all of them do, to at least some extent — he would appear to be the perfect prospect.

Fittingly, the humble blocker predicted that he would be a second-round pick in this year’s CFL draft, much like his former teammate and close friend Cyrille Hogan-Saindon.

Though this year’s draft class is deep along the offensive line, don’t be surprised if Dumoulin-Duguay ends up being a first-round pick. He could even be the first offensive lineman off the board.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.