Mustangs pair ready to tackle draft day
By Paul Mayne
May 08, 2014
On Tuesday, Dylan Ainsworth and Beau Landry will answers telephone calls that could change their lives. In one ring, they’ll go from university students just wrapping up exams to potential CFL players.
The two Mustangs football standouts, each in the Top 15 of the CFL’s Scouting Bureau rankings, are days away from finding out where their football careers may be headed as the Canadian player draft day is held May 13.
As one of only two OUA players ranked in the Top 10, Ainsworth impressed at the March combines in Toronto, leading all defensive linemen with a 4.697-second 40-yard dash, 35.5-inch vertical jump and broad jump of just over 10 feet. His extraordinary showing might see the B.C. native taken relatively high in this year’s draft.
The final CFL Scouting Bureau’s draft list is a key indicator of how teams draft. All 15 ranked players on last spring’s list were selected in the 2013 draft – and seven went in the first round.
“It (the combines) was a busy time with doing your medicals, jumping, measurements, meeting all the other players, the coaches, the teams,” Ainsworth said.
“You have to get up in your underwear in front of hundreds of coaches, so it was interesting,” he laughed. “You’re in the moment and they’ve seen it before, so it’s just part of the routine.”
Kidding aside, the defensive end knew this was his time to shine. Not even on the CFL Scouting Bureau radar in their fall rankings, he made his first appearance on the list at No. 15 and jumped to No. 7 in the spring.
“The main thing was to show, one, your athleticism, but also to show teams that it can translate to on-field success,” Ainsworth said. “They had me step in and do some linebacker skills, curious to see if I could play the position. I’m willing to learn and adapt and play linebacker, if needed.
“I think my athleticism can translate to other positions quite easily.”
Ainsworth, who has two years eligibility left with the Mustangs, holds the single-season sacks record at 9.5. While the option to return to the purple and white remains, he hopes to stick with a CFL squad.
Playing for his hometown Lions “would be cool,” but there’s something about every team that makes them intriguing.
“I’m just excited to see where I land,” said the Social Sciences student.
Back in B.C., Ainsworth will continue to focus on “getting stronger and faster” and looks forward to spending some time with friends and family, whom he wants to share in his soon-to-be big day.
“I’m going to get some of my close friends together from back home, and family, I’m hoping my grandparents can come out,” he said. “The plan is to relax and have fun. I really want everyone to share that experience with me because it’s pretty much the most exciting time I’ve had yet since picking what university I wanted to go to.
“You can’t worry about the pre-lists; it’s about where I go on draft day. This is out of my hands at this point, so we’ll just let fate decide what team wants to pick me. I'm just going to be excited about it when it happens. It will be a cool experience.”
Landry comes with the same determined focus as draft day approaches. The Kitchener, Ont., native has been on the CFL Scouting Bureau’s radar for some time, cracking the Top 15 on the last three rankings.
“Overall, I think I did well (at the combines) and was happy with the way it turned out. It was great just to get out there on the field with the other players,” said Landry, a Criminology student at King’s University College. “I got positive feedback from the teams after our conversations. The competition and the tempo of the game are going to be a step up. It’s a whole different playing field and it’s exciting to be able to compete among the best and I look forward to continue doing that.”
Landry, too, expects next Tuesday to be a quiet time with family and friends as he awaits the phone call.
“I can only take it one day at a time. I’ll be staying in the gym and keeping up with my workouts and getting ready for camp,” said the Mustang linebacker. “I want to work on my speed and agility and sharpen everything up.”
While it’s almost a certainty Landry will be drafted, he knows he can’t lose focus wondering where he might or might not land.
“It’s exciting, but, at the same time, you don’t want to get too high about it,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s all speculation at this point. Everything is just being said; nothing is concrete. So, when it happens, it’ll happen. You don’t want to be too involved or concerned about where you’re going to go or what’s going to happen. But, at the same time, when your name is called you have to be ready.”
With one-year of eligibility left at Western, Landry realizes there is some unfinished business, following the Mustangs tough loss in last year’s Mitchell Bowl.
“Everybody knows we have the potential to do something special here. We have a good core of guys and a lot of great talent coming in,” he said. “From the top down, from the coaches to the players, we have something really special here. The sky is the limit. So, it’s going to be an exciting time.”
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