Bisons offensive lineman Gray set to audition before pro football scouts

Gray set to audition before pro scouts

Being under the watchful eye of people who can make or break a potential pro football career can be stressful, but nerves won’t be an issue for Geoff Gray.

In fact, the six-foot-six, 310-pound Manitoba Bisons offensive lineman expects to enjoy auditioning for CFL and NFL scouts Thursday at his pro day in Winnipeg.

“I’m actually looking forward to it,” Gray said. “I’m not really a nervous person so I’m not too worried.

“I’m not going to worry about super specific numbers I want to hit. I have a rough idea of where I’m at based on what I’ve done in training and obviously I’d like to get around that. But I just want to perform well and do what I can on that day.”

Gray will go through the traditional combine paces — bench press, various agility drills and jumps as well as the 40-yard dash. He’ll also perform specific offensive line drills and whatever movements the scouts wish to see as part of their pre-draft preparations.

The NFL and CFL drafts go April 27-29 and May 7, respectively.

Last year, Bisons defensive lineman David Onyemata drew strong NFL interest on his pro day, performing well enough to be drafted in the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints. Last month, Manitoba coach Brian Dobie said he’d spoken to approximately 15 NFL clubs about Gray.

Gray has also opened eyes north of the border. The towering Winnipeg native was ranked fifth on the CFL Scouting Bureau’s list of the top-20 2017 draft prospects.

Gray skipped last weekend’s CFL combine in Regina to continue with his pro day preparation.

“I’m not trying to worry too much about where I’ll end up,” Gray said. “It’s comforting to know I have options and whatever happens it will work out well for me.”

Gray was a Canadian university first-team all-star as well as a Canada West all-star and its top lineman last year. He never missed a game at Manitoba, starting 30-of-32 regular-season contests plus six playoff encounters, lining up at both guard and tackle.

Gray also has some American football experience. He participated in the East-West Shrine game in January, practising under the watchful eye of NFL coaches the week leading up to the game.

“(Being coachable) is definitely something I showed at the East-West game,” Gray said. “I want to show off my athleticism and explosive power (Thursday).

“I think I definitely have the physical skills and that’s something you have to demonstrate in those events. That’s kind of what they’re there for.”

Gray believes being a competitive Olympic weightlifter has helped with his pro day preparation, both mentally and physically.

“With weight-lifting I’m used to preparing from the competition aspect of it,” he said. “In many ways, how I’m preparing for a combine is very similar to a weight-lifting competition.

“It’s nice to have that past experience of what your body should feel like as you’re tapering down.”

A mechanical engineering major, Gray lightened his academic workload somewhat this off-season to have enough tim to train. He expects to return to school nexst year and finish his degree.

At first glance, Gray projects a calm, cool and personable demeanour. But Gray says he has a nasty side he unleashes on the football field.

“I definitely have good physical strength and explosiveness,” he said. “I think I play with an aggressive edge and that’s something you can’t really teach.

“In practice I’ll be more relaxed and in a learning mindset. But when the game comes, you have to be able to turn that (aggressions) back on.”

Gray admits he has plenty to learn about professional football but is confident he’ll be a quick study.

“A big thing for me, and many college players coming out, is hand placement,” he said. “The pass-rush moves of an NFL defensive lineman are more developed than anything I’ve seen before.

“So it will be learning to read that and the players you’re playing against that I’ll have to work on. But I’m confident it will just be a matter of time.”

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Legacy Group wants City of Kelowna to rethink its downtown redevelopment plans

The plan envisions redeveloping RCMP site, Kelowna theatre, Memorial Arena and city hall parking lot

Deadline to apply for Kelowna neighbourhood grant program is quickly approaching

The grant will match up to $1,500 for community projects

Solution being found after Kelowna housing society misplaces washer and dryer unit

Shannon McDonald wanted to pay it forward with a gift, but there was a communication error

Central Okanagan superintendent outlines priorities for 2019-2020 school year

Infrastructure and program development were main themes in presentation

Lake Country man charged for killing his wife expected to enter plea

Lambertus “Bert” Westervelt was charged with second-degree murder of his wife in April

BC SPCA gala returns to Kelowna

Touchstone Law Group is one of three sponsors for the Kelowna gala

Advanced polls see 29 per cent increase in voter turn out from 2015

Some 4.7 million people took part, says Elections Canada

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Health concerns over vaping cast haze over Canadian cannabis market expansion

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment

VIDEO: Meet your Kelowna-Lake Country candidates

All seven Kelowna-Lake Country candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

VIDEO: Meet your Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola candidates answer questions about themselves and their policy

Fuel Good Day has most successful year to date with $680,000 raised in Western Canada

The Sept. 17 fundraiser beat last year’s amount by $80,000

Okanagan ski hills highlighted on website’s ‘most affordable’ list

HomeToGo looks at rentals, lift passes, accommodations and food to compile list of Top 50

Most Read