A year ago, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s dream was to play in the Canadian Football League. But he played so well in the 89th East–West Shrine Game that several NFL teams took notice – including the Kansas City Chiefs who drafted him in the 2014 NFL Draft. That’s what you call a dream changer.
Making it into the NFL is tough. It’s tougher yet if you’re from Canada. Duvernay-Tardif is only the 10th player in Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s history to be drafted into the NFL. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks from the University of Regina was the last, and that was in 2012. Hicks played in the 87th East-West Shrine Game. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints.
Duvernay-Tardif played college football at McGill University, in Quebec, Canada. At 6’5”, 315 lbs. his athletic and aggressive play impressed the Chiefs enough to give him a shot at the NFL. He’s rated as the top prospect in the 2014 Canadian Football League Draft. Off the field, he has close to a 4.0 GPA in medical school. He’s big, smart, athletic and aggressive; did the Chiefs gamble on a long shot from Canada, or did they find the real deal north of the border? Training camp this summer will tell the story.
Duvernay-Tardif’s NFL Draft Tracker profile describes him as a tough, gritty, smart battler who will require refinement, but has the physical tools and temperament that cannot be taught. He certainly has the skills and intellect of a quick learner, which should help him as he becomes a fulltime student of the game in pursuit of his NFL dream.
“Our offensive line coach liked him a lot,” said Jerry Glanville, Duvernay-Tardif’s (East Team)head coach in the 89th East-West Shrine Game. “He’s a big, strong, athletic player, but he is raw. He’s not a finished product yet. Very few offensive tackles come out of college ready to step into the NFL. It’s a position you have to develop into; 90 percent of the tackles in this year’s draft weren’t finished products. He’s got the tools; time will tell how badly he wants it.
Because the Chiefs have two solid veteran offensive tackles, Duvernay-Tardif is in a good position to learn and develop without facing immediate pressure to produce.”
It’s fair to say Duvernay-Tardif is a long shot, but then somebody has to be. He is a gifted man, both physically and intellectually. It’s also fair to say the East-West Shrine Game gave him a chance to impress the scouts and he backed it up. Now the Chiefs are giving him the chance to make it in the NFL.