TORONTO — With the 2016 CFL Draft come and gone, the next item on the CFL calendar is training camp.
First, however, we take a look at how teams did in the final turn of the long CFL off-season — arguably the most important one — as the CFL Draft offers a chance to add future stars and balance the ratio.
From the very first pick in Oklahoma tackle Josiah St. John to the very last in Manitoba’s D.J. Lalama, here’s a team by team look at all 70 picks from the CFL Draft:
1st Round: OL Charles Vaillancourt, Laval (5th)
2nd Round: DB Anthony Thompson, Southern Illinois (12th)
3rd Round: REC Brett Blaszko, Cagary (23rd)
4th Round: OL Dillon Guy, Buffalo (30th)
4th Round: REC Shaquille Johnson, Western (32nd)
6th Round: DB Brennan Van Nistelrooy, Alberta (38th)
7th Round: FB Nathan O’Halloran, Windsor (57th)
8th Round: DL Boyd Richardson, UBC (65th)
The Lions supplemented their Canadian depth on the O-line with one of the most well-rounded players in the draft in Laval guard Charles Vaillancourt, before adding the athletic defensive back Anthony Thompson from Southern Illinois in the second round.
Vaillancourt joins an offensive line that last year ranked third in the league with 34 sacks allowed (one off the league lead 33) and remains well-equipped to start four Canadians, the only international being perennial CFL All-Star Jovan Olafioye.
Head Coach and General Manager Wally Buono added solid value in the third and fourth rounds in Calgary receiver Brett Blaszko and Buffalo offensive lineman Dillon Guy, a highly-talented offensive linemen who fell due to injury concerns after a season-ending knee injury last fall.
Western receiver Shaquille Johnson was a fast riser before the draft having gone through the Toronto Regional Combine and then the National Combine in the same week, while the Lions’ sixth, seventh and eighth round picks were also regional combine invites that showed a lot late.
Overall the Lions added at least one potential impact player on each side of the ball in Vaillancourt and Thompson while supplementing those early picks with solid mid-round value.
1st Round: REC Tevaun Smith, University of Iowa (8th)
2nd Round: DB Arjen Colquhoun, University of Michigan (17th)
5th Round: DB Josh Woodman, Western (44th)
6th Round: REC Doug Corby, Queen’s (53rd)
7th Round: LB Doug Parrish, Western Oregon (61st)
8th Round: LB D.J. Lalama, Manitoba (70th)
The defending Grey Cup Champions tied the Riders for the fewest picks in the draft but it didn’t stop them from making an impact, grabbing the second- and fourth-ranked players in the CFL Scouting Bureau rankings in Tevaun Smith and Arjen Colquhoun.
They’ll likely have to wait to see both players as they currently slot in on NFL rosters, but both could be CFL game-changers down the road. Smith is a burner and amassed 1,500 receiving yards over a four-year career with Iowa, while Colquhoun is an athletic 6-foot-1 defensive back coming from the University of Michigan in the Big Ten Conference.
The Esks didn’t pick until the fifth round after that where they took Western University’s Josh Woodman, who led the OUA last season with five interceptions an was named a CIS Second Team All-Canadian, before getting a potential steal in Queen’s receiver Doug Corby in the sixth. Corby fell to the sixth round despite being the 20th-ranked player in the CFL Scouting Bureau rankings.
After taking linebacker Doug Parrish, a local connection to the team with his dad having won a Grey Cup with the Esks in the early ’90s, the Green and Gold capped off the draft with another linebacker in the eighth round with Manitoba’s D.J. Lalama, who racked up 53 total tackles in 2015 as a member of the Bisons.
1st Round: LB Alex Singleton, Montana State (6th)
2nd Round: REC Juwan Brescacin, Northern Illinois (15th)
4th Round: OL Roman Grozman, Concordia (33rd)
5th Round: DB Jean-Philippe Bolduc, Laval (38th)
5th Round: LB Pierre-Luc Caron, Laval (42nd)
6th Round: DL Michael Kashak, McMaster (51st)
8th Round: DL Quinn Horton, Simon Fraser (68th)
Intrigue continues to surround Montana State linebacker Alex Singleton, who the Stamps pegged with their sixth overall pick in the draft. Singleton was a late addition to draft boards after only recently obtaining national status, while the word leading into the draft was he might be getting an NFL contract.
Those rumours have been mostly dispelled and it appears Singleton will be in Stamps camp come June, making him a high-upside player in the first round that should be a future starter in Calgary’s line-backing corps as well as a potential special teams ace. Singleton spent last season in NFL circles and comes in with the added advantage of more experience than the rest of the field.
In the second round John Hufnagel grabbed receiver Juwan Brescacin, the second highest-ranked receiver in the CFL Scouting Bureau, who will supplement other national receivers on the roster in Anthony Parker and last year’s second round pick Lemar Durant. A 6-foot-4, 230-pound pass-catcher, Brescacin put up 1,242 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns over his last three seasons at Norther Illinois.
Roman Grozman, a 6-foot-4 guard gives the Stamps good fourth round value after he was originally slated to go in the first round in some mock drafts, while in the fifth round Hufnagel went back to the familiar Laval pipeline with defensive back Jean-Philippe Bolduc and linebacker Pierre-Luc Caron at 38th and 42nd.
The Stamps closed out their draft with back to back defensive linemen in the sixth and eighth, adding potential depth in Michael Kashak and Quinn Horton.
1st Round: OL Josiah St. John, Oklahoma (1st)
3rd Round: DB Elie Bouka, Calgary (24th)
3rd Round: K/P Quinn Van Gylswyk (26th)
4th Round: DL David Onyemata, Manitoba (35th)
5th Round: LB Alex Ogbongbemiga, Calgary (36th)
6th Round: OL Alex McKay, Manitoba (52nd)
8th Round: REC Joshua Stanford, Kansas (62nd)
The Riders tied the Eskimos with the fewest picks but may have had the most star-studded draft, ending up with not just the first overall pick in Oklahoma tackle Josiah St. John but, in the fourth round, the draft’s top-ranked player in Manitoba defensive lineman David Onyemata.
It was a tough choice at No. 1 as Chris Jones reportedly fielded trade offers for the pick all week, but in the end the Riders have an offensive tackle in St. John they can build their offensive line around for a long time. St. John has the size and athleticism at 6-foot-6 to play tackle in the CFL, something he did for a top-flight Division I school in Oklahoma as a starter for four games.
While Jones said the Riders would target players who could help right away, he may have ended up with a couple of futures in the third and fourth rounds in Onyemata in the fourth and Calgary’s Elie Bouka in the third. Both are on NFL rosters while Onyemata was a fourth round pick by the NFL’s New Orleans Saints — but could pay off in a big way down the road.
In between the Riders added highly-touted UBC kicker Quinn Van Gylswyk before getting Calgary linebacker Alex Ogbongbemiga in the fifth round, a player who raised his stock at the Edmonton Regional Combine.
The Riders capped off their draft haul with Manitoba offensive lineman Alex McKay in the sixth and the ultra-athletic Joshua Stanford from Kansas in the eighth.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
2nd Round: DL Trent Corney, Virginia (9th)
2nd Round: OL Michael Couture, Simon Fraser (10th)
3rd Round: DB Taylor Loffler, UBC (19th)
4th Round: LB Shayne Gauthier, Laval (28th)
5th Round: OL Zachary Intzandt, McMaster (37th)
6th Round: DL Rupert Butcher, Western (46th)
7th Round: REC Alex Vitt, Manitoba (55th)
8th Round: LB Frank Renaud-Berroa (63rd)
The Bombers didn’t own a first round pick after taking Garrett Waggoner in the supplemental draft last year, but GM Kyle Walters made the most of back to back picks to open the second round by securing solid talent on both sides of the trenches.
Trent Corney’s stock was rising fast ahead of the draft as the strong, athletic defensive lineman made a name for himself at his Virginia pro day. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound defender caused fits for opposing offences in his senior season, making nine stops for a loss.
With the next pick the Bombers added some much-needed national depth to their offensive line, getting Simon Fraser’s Michael Couture, a player who had plenty of first-round talk and a skyrocketing stock following a solid performance at the CFL Combine.
UBC defensive back Taylor Loffler is the 11th-ranked player on the CFL Scouting Bureau and gives the Bombers excellent value in the third, particularly given the way he dominated one on one drills at the Combine — while the same goes for Zachary Intzandt of McMaster, an offensive lineman taken in the fifth who was considered a major sleeper coming in.
Laval linebacker Shayne Gauthier was a CIS second-team All-Canadian as a senior and made 130 tackles over four years with the Rouge et Or, while Western defensive tackle Rupert Butcher, a 6-foot-5, 296 interior lineman who showed at the combine he can move for a big man, offers plenty of intrigue at 46th overall.
The Bombers closed out their day by selecting local talent Alex Vitt, a Winnipeg native who led the Bisons in receiving yards in 2015, and Windsor linebacker Frank Renaud-Berroa in the eighth.
1st Round: OL Brandon Revenberg, Grand Valley State (3rd)
2nd Round: RB Mercer Timmis, Calgary (14th)
3rd Round: REC Mike Jones, Southern University (18th)
3rd Round: LB Terrell Davis, UBC (21st)
5th Round: REC Felix Faubert-Lussier, Laval (39th)
5th Round: DB Elroy Douglas, Missouri Western State (41st)
7th Round: LB Mitchell Barnett, UBC (59th)
8th Round: REC Matt Uren, Western (67th)
The Ticats made the big early splash in the draft by moving up two spots to get offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg, a Grand Valley State graduate who played every position on the O-line throughout his career playing Division II football. He rose up the draft charts fast and adds youth and versatility to the Ticats’ line a year after they traded their first round pick to get Ryan Bomben.
In Mercer Timmis the Ticats get a hometown product who grew up cheering for the team at Ivor Wynne Stadium, and more than that an explosive, playmaking running back from the University of Calgary. Timmis can do a lot for the Ticats’ offence and there’s been some mention of him lining up as a slotback at the next level.
Head Coach Kent Austin added some more speed to his already-explosive offence with Southern University’s Mike Jones in the third round, while linebacker Terrell Davis of UBC was a sleeper going into the draft.
Felix Faubert-Lussier of Laval turned heads at the CFL Combine and can fill an H-back role for the Ticats with his ability to both block and make plays as a receiver or running back. Meanwhile, the Ticats closed out their draft with Missouri Western State’s Elroy Douglas, UBC linebacker Mitchell Barnett and, in the eighth round, Western receiver Matt Uren.
For a team loaded on defence with national talent, the Ticats set out for and got help on the offensive side of the ball, getting three potential difference-makers right off the top in Revenberg, Timmis and Jones.
1st Round: REC Brian Jones, Acadia (4th)
2nd Round: OL D.J. Sackey, Toronto (13th)
3rd Round: OL Jamal Campbell, York (22nd)
4th Round: RB Declan Cross, McMaster (27th)
4th Round: REC Llevi Noel, Windsor AKO (31st)
5th Round: LB Curtis Newton, Guelph (40th)
6th Round: OL Chris Kolankowski, York (49th)
7th Round: DB Jonathan Ngeleka Muamba, McMaster (58th)
8th Round: REC Ryan Nieuwesteeg, Guelph (66th)
The Argos focused mostly on local talent with their nine picks in the draft, other than their first round pick of Brian Jones at fourth overall. That was one of the bigger surprises early in the draft but Jones is a solid pick for the Argos, one of the high risers in the CFL Scouting Bureau going from 18 to 10 following a dominant CFL Combine in March.
Jones is big at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and he shows it with his play on the field, bringing a physical style to go with a reliable set of hands. The Enfield, N.S. native fills an important need for the Argos at receiver and will have time to grow into a role among a talented set of pass-catchers in Toronto.
Outside of Jones in the first, the Argos went with back to back local offensive linemen in the second and third, getting Toronto’s D.J. Sackey followed by York’s Jamal Campbell. Llevi Noel of the Windsor AKO Fratmen is an intriguing pick in the fourth round, one of the CFL Combine’s most explosive players and a former member of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
McMaster running back Declan Cross and Guelph linebacker Curtis Newton also join the team in the fourth and fifth round, while another local product in York University offensive lineman Chris Kolankowski rounds out the O-line depth the Boatmen were able to add Tuesday night.
Defensive back Jonathan Ngeleka Muamba from McMaster and receiver Ryan Nieuwesteeg from Guelph in the seventh and eighth rounds cap off what was a busy draft night for the Argos.
1st Round: OL Jason Lauzon-Seguin, Laval (7th)
2nd Round: DB Mikaël Charland, Concordia (16th)
3rd Round: DL Mehdi Abdesmad, Boston College (25th)
4th Round: LB Kevin Jackson, Sam Houston State (34th)
5th Round: OL Randy Beardy, Windsor (43rd)
6th Round: OL Kyle Fraser-Audit, Guelph (45th)
7th Round: LB Arto Khatchikian, Concordia (54th)
7th Round: WR Jamal Kett, Western (60th)
8th Round: LB Guillaume Tremblay-Lebel, Laval (69th)
Marcel Desjardins continued to stock his O-line with young Canadians with the addition of highly-touted prospect Jason Lauzon-Seguin, who some say had consideration to go first overall. Lauzon-Seguin played tackle at Laval and has the ability to play multiple positions, although he likely slots in as a guard for the REDBLACKS.
Concordia’s Mikael Charland put on a solid showing in the combine and should be able to come in and contribute on special teams right away after being drafted by Ottawa in the second round. He has size and versatility at 6-foot-4, 216 pounds and could help Defensive Coordinator Mark Nelson’s unit in a number of ways when needed.
Mehdi Abdesmad is on an NFL roster but is one of the higher-upside players in the draft, and the REDBACKS got him in round three. The 6-foot-6, 284-pound interior lineman played his college career at Boston College and is the third-ranked player in the CFL Scouting Bureau rankings. Desjardins and the REDBLACKS could be in for a big payoff with him should he ever arrive north of the border.
The REDBLACKS added three linebackers the rest of the way in Sam Houston’s Kevin Jackson, Concordia’s Arto Khatchikian and Laval’s Guillaume Tremblay-Lebel, while offensive linemen Randy Beardy (Windsor) and Kyle Fraser-Audit (Guelph) add more late-round depth to the O-line.
One of the most intriguing picks by the REDBLACKS is seventh round pick Jamal Kett, a physical 6-foot-5 receiver who struggled to produce at Western but with his athleticism offers long-term potential. He’ll battle for a spot on the team in training camp as there will be competition among national receivers for roster spots.
1st Round: OL Philippe Gagnon, Laval (2nd)
2nd Round: RB Wayne Moore, McMaster (11th)
3rd Round: OL Sean Jamieson, Western (20th)
4th Round: REC George Johnson, Western (29th)
6th Round: REC A-Dre Fraser, Guelph (47th)
6th Round: LS Emmitt Tims, Saskatchewan (50th)
7th Round: DB Maiko Zepeda, Montreal (56th)
8th Round: OL Matthew Toppan, Guelph (64th)
The Alouettes knew going into the draft they had an aging veteran O-line with some wear and tear the last few years, so getting local Laval product Philippe Gagnon at second overall was a no-brainer for Head Coach and General Manager Jim Popp.
Gagnon joins last year’s first round pick Jacob Ruby as future building blocks on the Als’ O-line, a unit that has been among the league’s most dominant over the last decade and continued the trend last year in tying a league low with only 33 sacks allowed.
Popp also added a potential future building block in Western’s Sean Jamieson, a hulking 6-foot-7 O-lineman who helped pave the way for a dominant Western rushing attack, while Guelph’s Matthew Toppan was added in the eighth to cap off three offensive linemen added to the Als’ roster.
Wayne Moore out of McMaster was a surprise pick in the second round but put on a good showing at the combine, while the Als went with receivers George Johnson and A-Dre Fraser in back to back rounds in the fourth and sixth.
Long snapper Emmitt Tims fills a very specific niche with the Alouettes’ sixth round pick, while in the seven they got another local in Montreal graduate Maiko Zepeda, who earned his way to the National Combine back in March with a solid showing at the Montreal Regional Combine.
Make no mistake about it, Gagnon is the pick the Als needed to hit on as he’ll team up with Ruby to form the foundation of the Alouettes’ O-line for years to come.