May 16, 2013

Dunk: Top 10 Prospects to watch for in 2014 Draft

Jeff Chan

A new draft cycle has begun as personnel men around the Canadian Football League have already started the process of scouting for the 2014 CFL pick fest.

Pro talent evaluators were in London, ON. from May 6-11 for the 11th annual East West Bowl, where, for the first time, they got an up close look at some of the top CIS prospects in the 2014 class.

After speaking to various scouts around the country, a fresh top 10 list of CIS players to watch during the 2013 university football season has been compiled by yours truly, with the 2014 draft in mind.

Just on the outside:

Pascal Lochard – 6’0, 215 lbs – Laval – RB

Kristopher Bastein – 6’2, 205 lbs – Concordia – REC

Evan Gill – 6’2, 281 lbs – Manitoba – DL

Top 10

10) Beau Landry – 5’11, 205 lbs – Western – LB

Scouts take: “He has instincts, is a good hitter, you can tell he likes to hit and has a nose for the ball. He didn’t run that well in the 40, but if he has a good year he’ll be a guy that teams are looking at because of his body type and special teams potential.”

Related: 2013 CFL Draft


» 2013 CFL Draft Tracker
» Ticats select Gaydosh 1st overall
» Mulumba taken 2nd overall by Bombers
» Edem, Lumbala headed to Montreal
» Ottawa takes MacMillan with 1st ever pick
» Charles taken by Eskimos in 10 spot
» Riders take Watman 4th overall

» Craighead goes 7th to Stamps
» Sewell drafted 8th by Boatmen
» Recapping the 2nd round

» 2013 Combine Results
» Dunk’s Mock Draft 1.0
» Dunk’s Mock Draft 2.0


» 1st Overall Pick – Linden Gaydosh
» 2nd Overall Pick – Andy Mulumba
» 3rd Overall Pick – Mike Edem
» 4th Overall Pick – Corey Watman
» 5th Overall Pick – Steven Lumbala
» 6th Overall Pick – Hunter Steward
» 7th Overall Pick – Brander Craighead
» 8th Overall Pick – Matt Sewell
» 9th Overall Pick – Nolan MacMillan

» 10th Overall Pick – Stefan Charles


» Draft Profile: Cayman Shutter
» Draft Profile: Mike Edem

» Draft Profile: Steven Lumbala
» Draft Profile: Justin Chapdelaine
» Draft Profile: Matt Sewell
» Draft Profile: Ben D’Aguilar
» Draft Profile: Linden Gaydosh

“He can do a number of different things for you. He’s kind of had a similar career path as Yannick Carter. He’s dynamic, can cover as well as play in the box. He’s a pretty physical kid, good athletic ability, explosive and has good ball skills. He’s one of those guys that has good instincts about him out there.”

9) Matt Uren – 5’10, 192 Ibs – Western – REC

Scouts take: “Very quick, he’s just undersized and doesn’t look like your prototypical CFL receiver. He’s a very productive football player. Needs to continue to build on what he did last year – just be the best football player on the field. He was like that at points last year where he was almost unstoppable. At some point it’s just about the prospect being so good and CFL teams will figure out what to do with him. Western does all kinds of different things to get him the ball.”

“He’s got excellent hands and very good route running ability. His routes are very good, he knows how to get open, he can separate and he’s got that short area type quickness to him. His lower body is very impressive, built like a running back. He’s very good after the catch and after contact he can get extra yards. He’s a tough kid and he’ll take a huge hit and keep his balance and keep going. He’s going to have to work against his naysayers due to his height. You’re more impressed watching him live.”

8) Dylan Ainsworth – 6’3, 232 Ibs – Western – DL

Scouts take: “He’s just so athletic. He’s lighter than Ben D’Aguilar, but that’s not a bad comparison. Ainsworth is a better football player, but D’Aguilar might be a better all around athlete and D’Aguilar was drafted in the second round.  
His testing numbers were so good. He’s just such a good athlete physically.”

“Physical and testing specimen. Question is can he rush the passer at the CFL level? He’s not as physically strong and impressive looking as D’Aguilar, but he’s got to go that same route and show CFL teams that if you draft him he can rush the passer. Needs to get bigger without losing any athleticism.”

“He’s got to add a little more weight to him, but he’s made a lot of strides in the last year. He’s got great athletic ability, runs well and is explosive. He’s still learning, but he has a pass rush repertoire. He’s got the motor and can bend the edge, pretty flexible kid. He pursues the quarterback well. Physically the kid is pretty gifted looking. He’s got length to him, is well built and has the frame to continue to add more weight. There was always something you liked about him over the years, he was a little small and undersized, but it seems this off-season the light has kind of come on. It looks like he’s really been working in the gym.”

7) Aaron Picton – 6’2, 284 Ibs – Regina – OL

Scouts take: “Picton’s pretty interesting. He was playing right tackle last season for Regina and he jumped out as a kid that has some athleticism and moves well. He’s on the upswing for sure. I think he’ll start to fill out a little bit. Another year added I think he should be that much more prepared for the CFL.”

“He’s played a lot. He was the best offensive lineman on the West team and projects as a guard in the CFL.”

6) Andrew Lue – 6’1, 211 Ibs – Queen’s – DB

Scouts take: “Long, athletic kid. He’s tough and looks like a CFL free safety – physically impressive looking. He looks like what you would want a CFL free safety to look like. He’s long, athletic and he’s a pretty tough kid. He’s a corner so that’s the problem, does it translate? He doesn’t play the position in the CIS that CFL teams are going to want him to play.”

“He has to get a little bit faster I think to play corner, but he’s got the other numbers that should make him get there with some time. He’s a pretty rocked up kid that looks every bit the part. His coverage ability is pretty good and I think he could be a field corner type guy. He disrupts people well. He uses his size to his advantage. He knows what his strengths are and plays to them. He’s got that frame that one day, you’d have to see it first, but he could move down towards the box. He’s already 211 pounds and he has the frame to be whatever he really wants, the kid is very well built. There will be a place for him to play at our level for sure.”

5) Devon Bailey – 6’3, 190 Ibs – St. Francis Xavier – REC

Scouts take: “Great frame, great body control for a kid his size and has enough speed. He probably needs to work on his quickness a bit, but he caught everything all week. He knows how to get open and high points the ball. He’s got a little bit of work that he needs to do running routes, but he looks like Akeem Foster did when he was at the East West Bowl. He’s going to be at the top of the draft board for receivers.”

“Kind of an Akeem Foster clone, but probably runs and moves a little bit better at the same stage. He’s a long kid. He’s got the frame for growth potential and he’s a natural hand catcher. He’s kind of got that basketball skill set to him and can play above the rim. He moves well, runs well and runs good routes for a kid his size. He still has to develop, but he’s pretty decent in and out of his brakes for how long he is. He’s got some growth in his game that needs to happen still, but he’s got all the physical tools to do that.”

“He’s got the size to be a really good one. He needs to continue to get a little more physical at times and be a little more consistent catching the ball. At his size, once he learns to start playing a little more angry, which he shows flashes of, he’ll be that much more dominant. I think he’s got every single tool you can imagine. He is big and long. He’s ahead of where Akeem Foster was at this stage of their careers. He’s got a little more athletic ability and speed than Akeem.”

Rewind: Dunk’s Top 10 of 2013
Immediately following the 2012 CFL Draft, Dunk spoke to scouts regarding the 2013 prospects. See how his picks over a year ago match up with how the Draft actually went down. » Read More

4) Pierre Lavertu – 6’1, 298 Ibs – Laval – OL

Scouts take: “He plays with a mean streak. He’s tough and technically is a sound football player. Lavertu projects as a centre.”

“He looks like he’s ready.”

3) Adam Thibault  – 5’11, 197 Ibs – Laval – DB

Scouts take: “Came out of nowhere. Totally unknown going into this year, but his physical presence, testing numbers and play at East West got him noticed. It will be very interesting to see how it goes with him during the 2013 season actually getting to play at Laval. He played receiver for three years and they just moved him over to defensive back during spring camp.”

“Such an impressive physical specimen that he got a lot of attention. You run that fast (4.49 in the 40) and with such little experience as a defensive back he didn’t look entirely out of place, which is intriguing. You want him to see him play and get some game film on him.”

“For a kid I’ve only seen as a receiver, he’s made some pretty good strides as a free safety. He’s an extremely athletic kid, is explosive, can run, has great range back there and he’s got a high ceiling. He doesn’t fully grasp everything as a defensive back yet, so when those things start to come along the sky is the limit with him. He wasn’t shy of contact at all, he strikes people and has good ball skills.”

“Very fast and has the body type to be a free safety. He used his speed well for playing free safety, that’s what you like to see. He showed he has the ability to cover. Every CFL team wouldn’t mind if they had a decently sized free safety who had 4.4 speed.”

2) David Foucault – 6’4, 313 Ibs – Montreal – OL

Scouts take: “He’s humongous, just a gigantic man and on sheer size he can play in the CFL.”

“He is ginormous. He’s a former defensive lineman and is still learning how to play offensive line – has a very high ceiling. His technique is a bit raw. The kid is huge, strong and has a big old prototypical guard type look to him. He’s as wide as he is tall. Very strong and has a good anchor to him. He’s pretty athletic, moves well and bends and sits well in his stance.”

1) Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – 6’5, 280 Ibs – McGill – OL

Scouts take: “Physically he is very impressive and had a very good showing at East West. He looks like a CFL offensive linemen right now. He plays tackle in the CIS, I don’t know if he can in the CFL, but he at least has a background playing the tackle position.”

“Big tackle, good feet, athletic, got better as the week progressed. He stood out amongst all of the offensive linemen. He definitely has all the intangibles. He’d definitely have to play inside in the CFL, but you could see him when he was working through the drills that he has the ability to do that. We’ll see how he develops during the year. He’s going to be in the conversation for the number one overall selection, I think he’s a first round pick for sure. I would put him somewhere between a Ben Heenan and a Matt Sewell, kind of like a hybrid between those two because he’s big enough. He resembles a high offensive line pick.”

“Really polished and technically he’s very sound. He has very good knee bend and is an athletic kid. He has good posture in his stance and when he’s actually playing. He’s got that straight back to him. Sits really well in his stance, punches and recovers well if he gets off balance. He has very, very good balance. He’s physical and finishes guys. I think he’s a guard in the CFL. He’s a little different, but some of his mechanics are a little similar to Brendon LaBatte. He might even be further along than Ben Heenan was at this point. Incredibly athletic and he’s got all the tools to work with.”