Melique Straker’s pro day performance could affect CFL draft stock

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Emilee Chinn

Canadian defender Melique Straker posted surprisingly pedestrian numbers at his recent pro day, which could affect his stock in the upcoming CFL draft.

The five-foot-ten, 202-pound defender ran a 4.82-second forty-yard dash, 4.75-second shuttle, and 7.63-second three-cone drill, which NFL talent evaluators will view as unfavourable. In turn, it’s possible that CFL teams will be more willing to use a top draft pick on the versatile defender knowing he’s likely to be in training camp next month.

Straker excelled in some areas of testing as he recorded 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, a 33.5-inch vertical jump, and a 125-inch broad jump. His speed and quickness, however, could be the subject of concern.

The native of Brampton, Ont. was extraordinarily productive over the past three seasons at Arkansas State, recording 216 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, four pass knockdowns, two sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He scored his first collegiate touchdown in 2023 when he returned an interception 87 yards for a score against Texas State.

Straker played a hybrid role on defence with the Red Wolves, spending time at linebacker and safety. He is a rare CFL prospect that seems best suited to play strong-side linebacker, a position that often requires players to drop into coverage while also rushing the passer and helping in the run game.

He started his collegiate career at Carleton University where he dressed for seven games in 2019, recording 6.5 total tackles in a depth role on defence. He also returned three kickoffs for 56 yards and three punt returns for 17 yards. He transferred down south following the 2020 season, which was cancelled following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2024 NFL Draft will take place from April 25 to 27, while the 2024 CFL Draft will occur on Tuesday, April 30.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.