Czech DE Alain Pae picked 13th overall in CFL Draft by Edmonton Eskimos

Prague native Alain Pae became the most unlikely candidate as a last-minute entry for the 2020 CFL Draft but proved the move was worth it when he was selected 13th overall by the Edmonton Eskimos in the second round.

The 27-year-old Pae only started playing football in the Czech Republic for the Prague Lions five years ago at the age of 22 and then moved to Canada in 2017 when he played one season for the Ottawa Gee Gees. He gained Canadian citizenship just in time for the draft (his father is a Canadian citizen). Pae had been in the process of attempting to continue his football career in the CFL through their Global draft process, but when Covid-19 put that on hold he was able to successfully apply for entry into the Canadian prospect pool after getting his new passport.

At 6’4″, 240 pounds, the lanky Pae relied on his athleticism and speed to get by offensive linemen. With the Gee Gees,  he recorded 25.5 tackles and six sacks in eight games on his way to OUA Conference All-Rookie team honors. In his two seasons with the Prague Lions, 2015 and 2016, he amassed 46 tackles including three tackles for loss for 86 yards, five sacks and eight quarterback hurries.

Here is how John Hodge of 3 Down Nations grades the pick:

Hasn’t played since 2017 when he recorded eight tackles for loss and six sacks with the Gee-Gees. The native of Prague recently qualified for the draft after attaining his Canadian citizenship and is already 27 years of age.

Has a great frame at six-foot-four and 240 pounds and came in as one of the draft’s biggest wildcards and he goes shockingly high here at 13.

The fact that he has not played a down of football in two years obviously was not a deterrent for the Eskimos.  He has been clocked as fast as 4.65 seconds in the 40 yard dash and broad jumped ten-foot-two-inches, both of which clearly were clearly noticed by CFL teams. In fact, at least one NFL scout has shown interest in him.

Needless to say, his former team, the Prague Lions are feeling proud. Head coach Zach Harrod:

“I remember Alain’s first recruiting practice. I saw him and instantly said, ‘this guy is the best athlete we have ever had a recruiting practice.’ I instantly knew there were bigger things for him if he wanted it. He did it! He took every bit of potential and fought through a long process and he’s the first CZECH to be drafted! It’s a huge day for Alain first and foremost but also a big day for our club, the Prague Lions, and Czech American football!”

Pae impressed in his lone season with Ottawa. Check out his highlights here.

AFI
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