While the NFL continues to eye London as a potential outpost in its quest to grow into a global power, the Panthers are seemingly building a new pipeline up north.
Last spring, they signed defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh, the top pick in the 2013 CFL draft. Now they’re planning to keep another Canadian-grown talent around a bit longer.
Quebec native David Foucault, who went fifth to Montreal in Tuesday’s CFL draft, told BBR that he has a Monday meeting scheduled with the Panthers. After bringing the offensive lineman down as tryout player for this weekend’s two-day rookie minicamp, the team is expected to offer him a contract.
“This is why I’m here. This is why I did all the hard work before that,” Foucault said after Friday’s practice, when we asked him about the possibility of earning a contract. “This is my dream, so I hope to have that.”
Listed at 6-8, 320, Foucault is a mountain of a man who was impossible to miss on the Panthers’ practice fields. His size and long blonde hair had many comparing him to Norse mythological god Thor.
Already 25, Foucault is relatively old for a potential rookie, but he’s still young as an offensive lineman. He played defensive line before switching to guard his first two years at the University of Montreal. He then shifted to tackle during his third and final collegiate season.
Many Panthers fans continue to crave competition for left tackle front-runner Byron Bell, but Foucault is still very much a project.
“I know they lost (former left tackle Jordan Gross). That’s why I’m here. That’s why the coach pushed my harder to get this place,” Foucault said in a thick French Canadian accent. “All the guys in front of me in the first line explained to me what I need to do. That’s very awesome that guys like this tried to help me. I don’t want to make a mistake. I want to be perfect each play.”
Ironically, the Panthers’ player who has helped Foucault the most is someone who was allegedly harassed during the Dolphins bullying scandal.
Tackle Andrew McDonald spent 2012 on Miami’s practice squad before he was released last August. The Panthers signed him to their practice squad in October.
In February, an NFL-ordered investigation of Richie Incognito and Dolphins’ offensive line coach Jim Turner found that they harassed Jonathan Martin and McDonald.
Yet this week, it was McDonald who went out of his way to mentor a guy who could potentially take his spot one day.
“After each play I go see him,” Foucault said. “The coach is always talking to all the guys, so he’s like my personal coach. He said to me, ‘Do that.’ So I try to do that, and it helped me a lot.”
If he gets his contract situation settled in time, the competition he’ll face in the upcoming OTAs and minicamp will be a level above what he experienced this week.
But at the very least, Carolina’s latest import is another intriguing experiment between the Panthers and our neighbors to the north.
“It’s my dream to play against the best. I do my best, but I have a lot to learn,” Foucault said. “This was a big step from my college in Canada to right now. You have to learn very fast, but I’m very excited to be here.”
OTHER NOTABLE NUGGETS:
- Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, when asked about the Canadian pipeline he’s apparently building joked, “I just wanted to bring some Canadian beer down.” He added, “(Director of Pro Scouting) Mark Koncz and I did the same thing. You develop Canadian contacts. He’s developed a couple contacts, he heard about (Foucault), he watched film on him, and come on down.”
- Foucault not only somehow fits into a Versa, but he drives one.
- Audio highlights from our interview with Foucault.
- Video highlights of Foucault.
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