Brian Swane, Special to Canada West
EDMONTON – Braden Schram’s football journey might be worthy of a Hollywood movie, if only the script had a hint of drama.
Only it doesn’t.
How the Calgary Dinos offensive lineman went from an unheralded small-town kid to a top-end Canadian Football League prospect boils down to basics of the most mundane variety.
“Hard work, dedication, you’ve always got to be willing to learn more,” says Schram. “I think it’s just being open-minded; you’ve got to be able to take criticism and you’ve got to be a little bit stubborn too ... thinking, ‘Yeah I can and I will.’”
Heading into the CFL Draft, May 7, Schram is ranked No. 16 by the CFL Scouting Bureau. He cracked the list of top 20 prospects for the first time after a strong showing at the recent CFL Combine in Regina.
“I feel like my one thing is I’m a pretty hard worker, I’m always trying to push myself” says the six-foot-three native of Manning, Alta. “I’m my No. 1 critic as far as when I screw up, I know exactly what I’m capable of. A lot of people will tell you I’m actually harder on myself than any of the coaches are.”
Over his four seasons, Schram has helped the Dinos capture a pair of Hardy Cup championships and earned both All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star honours, while featuring on one of the country’s top O-Lines, which has included the likes of Sukh Chungh and Sean McEwan (the No. 2 and 3 picks, respectively, in the 2015 CFL Draft).
“When it comes to playing with people, I always like trying to see who is the top player, who’s the top dog, who’s got the most amount of respect, and I try to pick apart what they do that impresses everyone. I try to copy that to my game so I can become just like them,” Schram continues. “I’ve played with and learned from a lot of great offensive lineman. I’ve just been lucky with that.”
HUMBLE IN HIGH SCHOOL
Schram, who graduated from Paul Rowe Junior/Senior High School in 2011 and red-shirted his first two years at the University of Calgary, says he never considered a pro football career.
“I didn’t even expect to go university coming out of high school, and then coach (Blake) Nill picked me up, and I tried to play, always wanted to start, and then eventually 2013 came around and I stared,” he recalls.
“Then I just tried to kind of enjoy it and two years later I found out I could possibly make the CFL, so that’s when I actually started thinking about it. But I’ve just kind of been trying to enjoy it, that’s all.”
THE STORY CONTINUES
After dressing for the first nine games of his university career in 2013, Schram became a Canada West All-Star in 2014, then an All-Canadian the following season. It seems only fitting that he caps his Dinos career by ascending to the next level of football.
“I was surrounded by a lot of talent, so I always tried to play like them and catch up to their level of play, and I always had great coaches that just kept pushing me,” says Schram. “Eventually one day I got an All-Canadian ballot and was just awestruck.
“It was all was history from there.”
CW CFL PROSPECT RANKINGS
For the second consecutive season, Canada West will release a list of the top conference prospects ahead of the CFL Draft.
Coaches from all six Canada West football programs are set to rank the conference's draft-eligible prospects. The rankings provide a glimpse into how Canada West coaches view the top players from around the conference.
The 2017 Canada West CFL Prospect Rankings are set to be released Thursday, May 4.
Over the last four years, a total of 43 Canada West football players have been selected in the CFL Draft.