For the second year, the Carolina Panthers have landed a big hog molly from Canadian waters.
David Foucault, a 6-foot-8, 320-pound offensive tackle from the University of Montreal, is expected to sign with the Panthers on Monday after impressing as a tryout player during the two-day, rookie minicamp that wrapped up Saturday.
Foucault will become the second Canadian lineman in as many years to join the Panthers after coming to rookie camp without a contract. Defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh signed with Carolina last May, but spent the 2013 season on injured reserve after injuring his back during training camp.
Gaydosh was the No. 1 overall pick in the Canadian Football League draft last year before signing with the Panthers. Foucault went No. 5 overall this year to the Montreal Alouettes.
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Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman jokingly said he invited Gaydosh and Foucault to the minicamps so they’d bring along Canadian beer. In actuality, pro scouting director Mark Koncz has developed contacts in Canada and liked what he saw in Gaydosh and Foucault.
The French-speaking Foucault has good size, but is also athletic. Like many Canadians, Foucault grew up playing hockey but dropped the sport in favor of football when he was 13.
“I played one year with both sports, but it’s too tough. I missed some practice in hockey, missed some practice in football and I (made) a choice,” Foucault said after Saturday’s practice. “I’m very glad to have my choice (be) football.”
Foucault, 25, nearly came to North Carolina for football several years ago after committing to East Carolina. But after an issue with the NCAA Clearinghouse, Foucault decided to stay closer to home and play for the University of Montreal.
Foucault initially played right guard before moving to left tackle. Besides learning the nuances of pass-blocking, Foucault’s English also improved in college.
“Our coach’s first language is English,” Foucault said. “When he’s angry he talks in English.”
Foucault said he doesn’t think any offensive line calls will get lost in translation: All of his college’s play calls were in English.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he saw Foucault learn quickly this weekend while working with assistant offensive line coach Ray Brown.
“What’s really nice is (when) coach Brown started trying to get him to understand certain techniques and the way we do things here – it’s a little bit different obviously – he seemed to be able to pick those things up,” Rivera said. “So that was pleasing.”
Rivera gave a brief scouting report on Foucault: long arms, athletic, nice accent.
Foucault also has athletic bloodlines. His cousin, Joel Perrault, was a fifth-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks who spent parts of six seasons in the NHL.
Foucault chose a different path, and has realized his goal of making it to the NFL. Now he’ll try to stick with the Panthers, who are looking for a replacement for left tackle Jordan Gross.
Foucault’s a long shot to get in the conversation in the left tackle competition. But the Panthers are interested.
“He’s a young man that’s very intriguing for us. He’ll have a chance. He’ll have an opportunity,” Rivera said. “The more experience he gets, I think the better he can become because he is very athletic. So we’ll see.”