TORONTO -- The Toronto Argonauts are bound to be the most interested observers when members of the 2010 Canadian Draft class showcase their skills at the Canadian Football League (CFL) Evaluation Camp that begins Friday, March 12 and runs through the weekend.
The Argos have the first overall pick in the May 2nd Canadian Draft that CFL scouts are touting as one of the strongest in years.
The E-Camp puts draft eligible Canadian prospects through a series of speed and strength tests as well as football drills.
It kicks off Friday afternoon with player arrivals and team interviews and continues through Sunday afternoon at the Varsity Centre at the University of Toronto and the Park Hyatt Toronto Hotel.
"It's a truism in our league that great teams are built on great Canadian talent, so this is a very important event for our teams' scouts, personnel directors, general managers and coaches," said Commissioner Mark Cohon.
"It's a critical step for tremendous, young Canadian athletes who aspire to play in the CFL and an important opportunity for teams who aspire to compete for the Grey Cup."
This year's camp features 10 of the top 15 Canadian prospects as identified by the CFL's Central Scouting Bureau, including three leading defenders touted as high picks and potential CFL linebackers: Cory Greenwood of Concordia, Shomari Williams of Queen's, and Joash Gesse of the University of Montreal.
(The other five are "red shirt" juniors in the NCAA who have another year of college football eligibility, including John Bender, a 6'8", 325 pound offensive lineman from Cochrane, Alberta who plays for the University of Nevada.)
This year's camp also provides some Canadian quarterbacks an opportunity to throw to receivers and backs under the watchful eyes of CFL scouts and managers.
Hec Creighton Trophy winner quarterback Erik Glavic from the University of Calgary, 2009 Vanier Cup Champion quarterback Danny Brannagan from Queen's and University of Guelph QB Justin Dunk are expected to attend. Western's QB Michael Faulds had to bow out of E-Camp because of injury.
While the quarterbacks have already been through the draft and are now free agents, the CFL invited them to E-Camp to provide a further opportunity to showcase their talents.
Other potential storylines at E-Camp include:
• A strong receiving corps including Jordan Sisco from the University of Regina, who participated in the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando in January.
• Rob Maver of Guelph, the first kicker to attend E-Camp in nine years (Duncan O'Mahony in 2001.
• The strength of Canadian university football - 54 of the 58 E-Camp invitees are from CIS programs as opposed to NCAA programs.
The full selection order for the first round of CFL Canadian Draft is:
1. Toronto Argonauts
2. Saskatchewan Roughriders via a trade with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
3. British Columbia Lions
4. Saskatchewan via a trade with the Edmonton Eskimos
5. Hamilton forfeits this pick by virtue of choosing Weber State Offensive Lineman Zac Carlson in last year's supplemental draft
6. Calgary Stampeders.
7. Winnipeg via a trade with Saskatchewan
8. Montreal Alouettes
"E-Camp is all about hope, with players hoping to impress, and teams hoping to improve," Cohon said.
"It's an early sign that a new season, featuring new and exciting talent, is fast approaching. And that makes it special for all of us who love the CFL and Canadian football."
The 2010 CFL regular season kicks Canada Day Weekend, with the Alouettes visiting Regina and the Argos visiting Calgary on July 1st, the Tiger-Cats visiting Winnipeg on July 2nd, and the Lions playing in Edmonton on July 4th.