December 18, 2012

Teams can’t go wrong with Top 15 prospects, scouts say


The CFL’s Scouting Bureau December rankings have been released and there was some movement in the ranks as Canadian prospects continue to jockey for position on draft boards heading into the 2013 pick fest.

Scouts still have plenty of film evaluation to do, but there has been a stacking process started in terms of rankings players in each teams’ personnel department.

More on the Top 15

The CFL Scouting Bureau published its winter edition of the top 15 ranked prospects eligible for the 2013 CFL Canadian Draft and it includes a new top ranked player.


So how do talent evaluators feel about the group of athletes who are ranked as the 15 best available players at this stage in the process? Scouts from around the league weigh in.

1. Bo Lokombo LB Oregon

2012 regular season statistics: 12 games played, 21 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions

Scouts take: “Lokombo is the best player for sure in this draft.”

“He’s unreal, a great athlete, has a knack for making huge plays. He’s had a bunch of scoop and scores on blocked punts and he’s had some pick sixes – he picked off Andrew Luck last year (2011) and returned it for a touchdown.”

“He’s one of those guys that you knew he’d get let out of the bag and people would see him.”

“He’s played in big time games. He would play on a lot of defences in this league from day one, just based on his athleticism.”

“Everything he does just looks so easy and natural.”

2. Matt Sewell OL McMaster

Scouts take: “There are not too many kids with his size that I’ve seen move that well and play with the kind of posture and knee bend that you want.”

“He moves extremely well. His size is just unreal. He takes forever to just even run around if you can manage to do that.”

“He did a good job against Calgary’s Linden Gaydosh and the Laval defensive line in the playoff games, so he has faced some talented guys.”

“He’s a tackle in the CFL and he’ll be playing against some pretty premium guys, he’s maybe not seen that type of explosiveness off the edge to date.”

“He looks every bit the part when he walks in the door.”

3. Linden Gaydosh DL Calgary

2012 regular season statistics: 8 games played, 10 solo tackles, 8 assisted tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Scouts take: “He’s been on CFL radars for a long time.”

“I think he battled injuries a little bit this past season, but when he was out there he was still the same old guy. Moves very well for his size, he’s strong, powerful and was asked to do some things where he wasn’t going to be getting sacks and filling the stat sheet.”

“Usually makes first contact with an offensive lineman, gets his hands on them and delivers a blow.”

“He does some things where you’re just kind of like ‘wow’ sometimes. There are some plays where he tracks guys down who are 200 pounds lighter than him. You’re just kind of like ‘wow’ this kid can run.”

4. Stefan Charles DL Regina

2012 regular season statistics: 4 games played, 5 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks

Scouts take: “He really didn’t play that much at all this year. Missed four games with a thumb injury that needed surgery. His year was definitely a hard one for him.”

“There aren’t too many kids his size, strength and with his power. He has a lot of natural ability that he hasn’t fully harnessed yet. Still has a lot of upside.”

“He flashes extreme dominance, but sometimes he takes a play off, so he needs to work on his motor.”

5. Ben D’Aguilar DL McMaster

2012 regular season statistics: 8 games played, 27 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 12.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble

Scouts take: “There are not too many Canadians that can do the stuff he can do athletically.”

“You just don’t really know where you’re going to play him in the CFL.”

“Some of the production he had this year was schemed up for him.”

“You have to put on your projection hat a little bit and realize that he’s not a finished product yet, but he has all the tools to be a very good player.”

“He might translate better as a pro being around the game constantly and having more time to learn the game. Things don’t always happen for him as fast as they need to right now, but his athleticism can bail him out.”

6. Andy Mulumba DL Eastern Michigan

2012 regular season statistics: 12 games played, 27 solo tackles, 46 assisted tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Scouts take: “Andy’s a pretty similar athlete to Bo Lokombo, they look very similar, they’re both specimens and extremely well put together.”

“He predominantly plays defensive end, but there is a lot of things he can do like cover running backs out of the backfield.”

“He’ll be able to play any special teams and contribute on defence quickly into his CFL career.”

“He’s a legitimate guy for sure for our league – you could argue he could be the first pick in the draft.”

“Andy’s a very smart player has a 4.0 GPA at Eastern Michigan.”

“He’s a rare Canadian player.”

7. Corey Watman OL Eastern Michigan

Scouts take: “I think he could be a plug-and-play guy at centre or guard in the CFL.”

“Extremely tough and strong, plays with great leverage and knee bend. He moves really well and has an insane motor.”

“He’s nasty; I think before he got into football his goal was to be an Olympic boxer.”

“His only weakness is his length; his arms are a little shorter than you would like them to be and he’s probably only 6’1”.”

“He’s played a lot against a number of good teams and should be a pretty good player in our league.”

“I think Watman will be a good Canadian offensive lineman in this league for a while.”

8. Jesse Joseph DL Connecticut

2012 regular season statistics: 3 games played, 5 solo tackles, 7 assisted tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack…Posted career-best 8.5 sacks in 12 games in 2010

Scouts take: “He tore his Achilles this year, so he missed a good chunk of the season.”

“Extremely productive kid early in his career at UConn, has been derailed a little bit by injuries, which has set him back.”

“He’s a talented player that has started at a high level. His sophomore (2010) year he was incredible. He looks every bit the part and we’ll see how he bounces back from his injuries.”

“To get a Canadian guy with his versatility on the defensive line would be huge.”
9. Brent Urban DL Virginia

2012 regular season statistics: 7 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

Scouts take: “He’s a junior, very long and is somehow 290 pounds – he doesn’t look like he has much fat on him.”

o;d like to see him be more physical and nasty, but to be 6’7” and 290 pounds you don’t get those type of players with that kind of size and athleticism very often.”

“He’s going to go to a team that can afford to wait on him.”

10. Nolan MacMillan OL Iowa

Scouts take: “He’s a talented kid. He went to Iowa with a lot of hope and even started as a freshman at tackle, but has had some bad luck with injuries.”

“As a redshirt freshman started six games for the Hawkeyes.”

“He’s very athletic, physical and aggressive. He might have a chance to play tackle in the CFL.”

“Nolan has played every position except centre at Iowa. I think he could play anywhere up here, and could have the chance to play left tackle.”

“The only thing with him is his injuries, he gets hurt a lot. He hasn’t been able to develop into a full-time starter there because he’s always getting hurt and that might scare teams off. Needs to prove he can stay healthy.”

11. Brett Jones OL Regina

Scouts take: “You hear a lot of good things from his teammates about him. He’s very strong, athletic, flexible, plays with great knee bend and technique.”

“He’s a very smart player. He’s not real long, doesn’t have great height and looks shorter because he’s so wide and thick.”

“He’s a pretty dominant player, the more you watch him the more you like him. People will be more impressed with him once they see him in person.”

12. Stephen Alli WR Florida

Scouts take: “He doesn’t play much. I know he plays some special teams – haven’t had a full look at him on offence yet.”

“It’s going to be important to watch him during bowl week practices and spring camp just to see how he is.”

“He probably could’ve played American college basketball. Still learning the game of football – went to school with more of a basketball background when he originally went to Florida.”

“Alli has off-the-charts tools for his size, but hasn’t seen a lot of work in games.”

“He was an Urban Meyer recruit and then they switched staffs, so I think he’s fallen out of favour with the new staff when Will Muschamp came in.”

“Big kid who runs in the low 4.4, 40 range.”

13. Steven Lumbala RB Calgary

2012 regular season statistics: 7 games played, 79 carries, 636 yards, 8 touchdowns, 8 receptions, 103 yards

Scouts take: “Good athlete, good patience, good vision, does everything pretty well, just doesn’t do anything that is above and beyond.”

“Doesn’t have elite speed, doesn’t have that second gear where he can break away.”

“Lumbala might have a chance to play running back after a couple years of developing.”

“Good player, but I don’t know if he’s Andrew Harris or Jon Cornish.”

“The more you watch the less excited you get a little bit.”

14. Mike Edem LB Calgary

2012 regular season statistics: 8 games played, 40 solo tackles, 30 assisted tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery

Scouts take: “He’s a dynamic player, there’s a lot that he can do for you from a defensive and special teams perspective.”

“Really came out of nowhere. He’s a versatile guy who is just a playmaker. He plays fast, that is one of the things that jumped out to me and he’s always around the ball.”

“I think he’ll fill out his frame and get a bit bigger – has a lot of upside. Natural pass rusher in blitz situations, he’ll strike and is a physical kid. Edem is a pretty athletic weak side linebacker.”

“He’s an intriguing guy and has really shot up draft boards.”

15. Kalonji Kashama DL Eastern Michigan

2012 regular season statistics: 11 games played, 8 solo tackles, 22 assisted tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Scouts take: “A great straight-line athlete, runs really well, has long arms, but needs to get stronger and he’s very raw still.”

“Really good pedigree, has great bloodlines, all three of his brothers played division one football: One at Michigan, one at Connecticut and one at Western Michigan. All three played in the league at one time or another.”