Gaels CFL combine preview

Five Gaels competing at CFL combines

Safety Zack Kealy and three other Gaels are looking to wrap up invitations to join Cam Lawson at the National Combine.
Credit: 
Jeff Chan

The 2020 Canadian Football League combine season is almost underway, and there are five Gaels who will be getting evaluated by Canadian Football League (CFL) teams.

With the Eastern Regional Combine set to take place on March 13, the National Combine isn’t far behind, taking place from March 26 to 28.

The CFL Combine differs from the National Football League’s combine process in that there is one national combine and three separate regional combines, which are determined by conference.

Players may be selected directly to the national combine or, otherwise, assigned to the regional combine to compete for an invite to the national combine.

This year’s Eastern Regional Combine, to be held on March 13 in Montréal, will host several Gaels looking for an invitation to the national combine in Toronto. Defensive back Zack Kealy, linebacker Kurtis Schaefer, running back Jake Puskas, and offensive lineman Josh Mosely will all be representing Queen’s.

The East Regional selects participants from the Atlantic University Sport Conference, the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec, and eastern Ontario university programs.

Kealey was a staple of the Gaels’ defence this past season. Starting all eight games at safety, Kealey recorded 31.5 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three interceptions, and two blocked kicks.

Kealey is a cerebral safety with a nose for finding the football. Kealey’s range at the safety position is incredibly noticeable when watching the tape and will be on full display at the regional combine.

Schaefer, an aggressive and physical player, spent most of his season playing from the weakside linebacker position.

He was one of the most disruptive players on the Gaels’ defensive units this season, finishing his year with 44 tackles, one sack, and four tackles for a loss. Schaefer’s strength and athleticism should bode well for him with scouts.

Last season, Jake Puskas was an East-West Bowl selectee. Puskas is a hard, downhill running back, who almost always initiates contact rather than receiving it.

In his four seasons with the Gaels, Puskas has totalled 1376 rushing yards on 222 attempts for an average 6.2 yards per carry, and he’s found the end zone 11 times.

Puskas is more than just a runner though—he’s tallied 214 yards on 17 receptions and caught three touchdown passes over the course of his career. Puskas is a versatile running back that is sure to turn a few heads.

A pivotal piece in the Gaels offensive line who’s allowed backs like Puskas to be so successful has been left guard Josh Mosely. Mosely is an athletic offensive guard who is just as good in pass sets as he is in run sets.

Mosely does a good job of locating and attacking his assignment. When asked to pull on run plays, his athleticism becomes noticeable.  Mosely’s size, power, and athleticism for an offensive lineman is going to get him noticed at the regional combine.

Queen’s is already guaranteed representation on the national stage—defensive tackle Cameron Lawson will be in attendance at this year’s national combine. Lawson was named a 2019-2020 U SPORTS All-Canadian, an OUA First Team All-Star, and the OUA Lineman of the Year.

He is also the 15th overall ranked CFL draft prospect and the top-ranked Canadian defensive linemen. Lawson has prototypical CFL size, power, and athleticism. He is a tenacious pass rusher who will do anything in his power to wreak havoc on the offensive backfield.

Lawson will surely be hearing his name called come draft night—it’s just a matter of who calls him.

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