Riders’ Chris Jones looking for personality, character in combine participants

March 26, 2017 - 11:04am Updated: March 27, 2017 - 7:28am
Roughriders general manager and head coach Chris Jones participates in a panel interview at CFL Week.
Johany Jutras/CFL
Roughriders general manager and head coach Chris Jones participates in a panel interview at CFL Week.

You could be the most athletic football player at the draft, but if you don’t fit with the Riders' philosophy, general manager and head coach Chris Jones just might pass you over.

It’s the final day of “try-outs” for the top-ranked university level football players at the CFL Combine. Over the last two days, players have jumped, sprinted and showcased their physical football skills for representatives of the league’s nine teams. The players have also been interviewed by scouts, general managers and coaches.

“It’s good to get the in the interviews and get to know them personality-wise to see whether or not they’re going to be a fit for what you’re looking for,” Jones said after the Saturday morning testing. “Certainly when we get them in the one-on-ones in a little while we’ll be able to evaluate them as football players.”

During the afternoon one-on-one testing, Jones could be seen right in the mix on the field watching intently as the defensive and offensive lineman went head to head. Though he looked in his element, he said his favourite part of the combine came the day before.

“Kids are very open and they are very honest, it’s interesting, the interviews are probably my favourite part.”

Jones said the interviews are where the Riders staff try to learn about the players’ upbringing, their family, why they love football and what drives them.

It’s also where they learn if the player will be able to fit in with the character of the team.

“In our interviews, we’ve tried to offer some insights to some kids and it’s interesting the ones that adhere to the things that we told them and others don’t and I can’t ensure you the ones that don’t won’t be on our board,” he said.

Between that and the one-on-ones is where players could see their stock really drop or really rise, according to Jones.

“I think they can probably move up a round or two, especially if they run well and then they show good in the one on ones.If they do both those things they’re going to move up the boards,” Jones said.

Barring a trade before the draft, the Roughriders will have the second overall pick behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The CFL draft is on May 7, 2017.