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Mock 1.0: Stamps go big on first overall pick

It’s been a weird and difficult last couple of weeks for everyone as we continue to adjust our daily lives to the temporary normalcy of social distancing. In that quiet darkness, elite collegiate football players continue to find creative ways to prepare, hoping their CFL dreams will be answered.

Without a CFL combine to work off of, this year is all about film and how each teams’ football operations staff will value players abilities on tape. It’s made for a more difficult mock draft process than ever but here are some names to know and possible landing spots for the 2020 CFL Draft class.

ROUND 1

1. CALGARY
CARTER O’DONNELL
OL | ALBERTA

For the sixth time in the last nine years, an offensive lineman goes first overall.

This feels like a natural home run for the Stampeders, who were able to turn a backup quarterback into the first overall pick knowing that the player waiting for them calls Alberta home and could be a long-tenured Stampeder to help protect the rest of Bo Levi Mitchell’s Calgary career.

O’Donnell says he tries to model his game after current Indianapolis Colt Quenton Nelson, which makes sense if you’ve seen the mean streak he plays with. At six-foot-six and 290 pounds, Calgary can pair O’Donnell with last year’s selection from Manitoba, Zack Williams, and see their pass protection future develop.

2. TORONTO
KETEL ASSE
OL | LAVAL

Ketel Asse started every game for Laval over the past three seasons en route to being named an all Canadian and Vanier Cup Champion in 2018. He is quite different from departed CFL All-Star Sean McEwen but has all the skills required with his six-foot-seven, 300-pound frame to pair and develop alongside last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Shane Richards.

3. BC
MARC-ANTOINE DEQUOY
DB | MONTREAL

BC’s main concern is offensive line and protecting Mike Reilly, but are they wanting to invest and develop through the draft or find the quick fix through other venues?

There is an argument to be made that this long, lanky Carabins defender with freaky athleticism is worthy of a first round pick and I could see the Lions taking a shot at Dequoy in hopes of drafting a game changer for special teams and returns, just like Laval alumni Marco Dubois did for the Ottawa REDBLACKS.

4. EDMONTON
MATTLAND RILEY
OL | SASKATCHEWAN

From Melfort Saskatchewan, Riley impressed at the 2019 East-West Bowl amongst U SPORTS best. This year he started eight games at left guard for the Saskatchewan Huskies and was named a first-team all-Canadian. He just feels like a solid top end offensive line pick capable of developing into a really solid piece.

5. HAMILTON (VIA MTL) 
TOMAS JACK KURDYLA
OL | BUFFALO

Hamilton could look to replace former fourth overall pick Connor McGough, who went home to Calgary in free agency but in an off-season where it was difficult to see players test in-person, he made his numbers known at the Buffalo Bulls pro day.

The Montreal native started in 40 games at guard. He was a key part of Buffalo’s first-ever 10-win season in 2018 and the Bulls’ first bowl victory in the 2019 Bahamas Bowl.

After being ranked fifth in the December scouting bureau I believe he could land right here.

6. OTTAWA
DYLAN GIFFEN
OL | WESTERN

Marcel Desjardins’ allegiance to first-round offensive line picks is well known. Dylan Giffen is six-foot-eight, 324 pounds, is a Vanier Cup winner and multiple-time Yates Cup champion. He’ll need to refine as a pro but no doubt his raw skill set makes him a first-round pick.

7. SASKATCHEWAN
MASON BENNETT
DL | NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota’s Division I leader in career sacks added All-American to his resume in 2019. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native was limited to just 10 games last year due to injury, but still managed to lead the Fighting Hawks in sacks (5.5) and quarterback hurries (5) while finishing tied for second on the team in tackles for loss (6.5). Bennett is a former Winnipeg high school all-star offensive tackle that could spend Labour Days and Banjo Bowls chasing after blue and gold passers for the Riders.

8. HAMILTON
JESSE LAWSON
OL | CARLETON

Maybe Jesse Lawson is a bit too high, BUT he has good lower body explosion and is six-foot-five and 285 pounds. The Ticats have invested nationally at tackle with Kay Okafor and Chris Van Zeyl, which might open the door to add depth in a player capable of flexing across the line.

9. TORONTO
DEJON BRISSETT
REC | VIRGINIA

With two first round picks, the Argos can play around with the ninth overall pick a bit if they want. They were recently interested in TJ Jones and if he doesn’t end up coming to Toronto, speedster Dejon Brissett could make waves and add to the Argonauts push at national receiver in the same way that Hergy Mayala did for Calgary in 2019.

ROUND 2

1 (10). OTTAWA
NOAH HALLETT
DB | MCMASTER

Former McMaster Head Coach Greg Knox is now the defensive backs coach in Ottawa but that isn’t why I have Hallett this high. He put on a show at the 2019 East-West Bowl and likely would have blown up the CFL National Combine if it had gone ahead as planned.

2 (11). TORONTO (CONDITIONAL TO SASKATCHEWAN)
JORDAN WILLIAMS
LB | ECU

In a year without much in the way of combine numbers to evaluate, Jordan Williams was able to make an impression in a single morning at the Ontario Regional Combine.

He’s a highly productive three-year NCAA starter that would pair well with former Queen’s LB Nelkas Kwemo in Toronto to develop.

3 (12). BC
MICHAEL HOECHT
DL | BROWN

I see a little piece of Brent Johnson in Hoecht’s game, but at a larger frame and weight he will be tasked with less edge rush and more ability to anchor. His pass interior pass rush moves are compact and powerful with a good array of options at his disposal. When he recognizes where the ball is headed and puts his head down, Hoecht is an imposing player. He might not go this early but someone will be very happy to add this Ivy leaguer to their roster.

4 (13). EDMONTON
CAM LAWSON
DL | QUEENS

It’s all about power for this interior rusher. Lawson has a smoothness to his game that can lose one-on-ones when he doesn’t play sudden enough off the snap but his leverage and hand placement is extremely fundamentally sound.

5 (14). MONTREAL
ADAM AUCLAIR
DB | LAVAL

No longer little brother to an NFL tight end, Adam Auclair can ball with the best in the RSEQ and would have been an interesting study at the national combine after starting 32 consecutive U SPORTS regular-season games. There is no shortage of film on him to evaluate for Danny Maciocia, who spent four years coaching against the Rouge Et Or ballhawk.

6 (15). CALGARY
ISAAC ADEYEMI-BERGLUND
DL | SE-LOU

From Dartmouth High School, through CEGEP and now Southeastern Louisiana University. This six-foot-two, 250-pound pass rusher is a stat stuffer who feels like a Stampeders draft pick.

In 2019 Isaac played in 13 regular-season games, registering 25 unassisted tackles and 36 assisted tackles, including 7.5 sacks and 16 tackles for a loss. Oh and he also recorded three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four pass breakups. He does it all.

7 (16). MONTREAL (VIA SASKATCHEWAN)
BRIAN HARELIMANA
LB | MONTREAL

Watch the Carabins’ playoff run in 2019 and there is no doubting how important this RSEQ All-Star was to their success from sideline-to-sideline.

8 (17). HAMILTON
BRENDAN O’LEARY-ORANGE
REC | NEVADA

Brendan’s dad Doyle Orange was an Argo and Ticat in the late 1970’s, where he once rushed the ball 37 times for 175 yards. Now his son is ready to stay home in the GTA area after graduation from Canada Prep Academy and contributing to Nevada’s passing attack.

9 (18). WINNIPEG
NICHOLAS DHEILLY
DL | SASKATCHEWAN

A six-foot-five, 230-pound CJFL transfer, this Canada West All-Star is ready to put pads on and make a game day impact quickly after registering 16 unassisted tackles and three assisted tackles, including five sacks last fall.

8 (19). OTTAWA (TERRITORIAL)
NEVILLE GALLIMORE
DT | OKLAHOMA

Wasted pick right? Hear me out. It’s a territorial draft selection and there just aren’t many players worthy of a second-round pick from the REDBLACKS region, which means they have two options.

Draft a player far too early as a throwaway OR draft a player they’ll likely never see like Gallimore and hope if he ever comes home the pick pays off.

As one CFL decision maker told me, “Worst case scenario is they never see him but don’t have to carry another body or pay another second-round value to someone who likely doesn’t qualify for it.”

7 (20). TORONTO (TERRITORIAL)
SAMUEL ACHEAMPONG
DL | WILFRID LAURIER

The Argos’ front office has an embarrassing array of options for their territorial pick unlike Ottawa, a disparity that really underscores the pros and cons of the territorial draft pick process, but Brampton’s Acheampong could join the plethora of Golden Hawks alumni wearing double blue in 2020.

 

ROUND 3

1 (21). CALGARY
JACK CASSAR
LB | CARLETON

Every year, Calgary somehow finds value in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

This year they’ll do it when many others don’t find a fit or belief in this OUA standout. Cassar’s instincts and approach are second-to-none in this draft as a linebacker, but his physicality will be tested once play kicks off. I believe he’ll answer the bell admirably as he did so many times in Ottawa.

2 (22). MONTREAL
RYSEN JOHN
REC | SFU

Rysen John is every bit of his six-foot-seven, 220-pound frame.

He has elite freaky size and plays the ball similarly to former Western Mustang George Johnson, whom Montreal has been patient in developing.

3 (23). BC
JAKUB SZOTT
OL | MCMASTER

BC needs more flexibility and national depth across their offensive line. Szott can be more than serviceable at both guard and centre in a time of need.

4 (24). EDMONTON
TRESHAUN ABRAHAMS-WEBSTER
DB | CALGARY

Quickness to the receiver break and a natural ability to get in on the football without taking penalties define this Dinos defensive back as he potentially makes his way north to Edmonton.

5 (25). MONTREAL
ANDREW SEINET-SPAULDING
DT | MCGILL

Danny Maciocia wants the best French players to stay and excel in Quebec.

This year Seinet-Spaulding was named an RSEQ All-Star, the RSEQ Defensive Player of the Year, RSEQ Lineman of the Year, U SPORTS first- team All-Canadian and the U SPORTS Down Lineman of the Year (J. P. Metras Trophy).

Enough said.

7 (26). CALGARY
STAVROS KATSANTONIS
DB | UBC

A year after having a top notch performance at the CFL Combine presented by New Era, Katsantonis served his one-year CFL ban for a positive doping test and is ready to play again. His teammate Malcolm Lee fell to the same fate and was drafted by Calgary 46th overall.

8 (27). HAMILTON
KAYDEN JOHNSON
RB | YORK

A physical freak with size and top end track speed. The Ticats have invested at national running back and Johnson could re-unite on specials and maybe even in the backfield with 2019 Ticats draft pick Nicola Kalinic, whom he played with at York..

9 (28). TORONTO
BROCK GOWANLOCK
DL | MANITOBA

Gowanlock caught my eye at last year’s East-West Bowl with his high energy and talkative approach. The last player with his makeup from Manitoba was also drafted by Toronto when Evan Foster went 19th overall in 2017.

 

 

ROUND 4

1 (29). OTTAWA
MACHO BOCKRU
REC | MANITOBA

At six-foot-two and 195 pounds, Bockru isn’t the most imposing of receivers, but his intermediate route running is a plus and his feel for the game shows in most reps.

2 (30). SASKATCHEWAN
COULTER WOODMANSEY
OL | GUELPH

With Jason Maas as offensive coordinator, the Riders might not pound the rock as violently as they did with Stephen McAdoo, but when they do with William Powell, Woodmansey would be a great fit.

3 (31). CALGARY
ADAM SINAGRA
QB | CALGARY

Every year I give Calgary the Canadian quarterback because I know Dave Dickenson believes in them. Every year I’m wrong, until now?

Sinagra is my last chance to test that theory successfully for a while.

4 (32). EDMONTON
BAILEY FELTMATE
LB | ACADIA

Feltmate is a tackling machine from the AUS who adds immediate quality to the Esks’ national linebacking group.

5 (33). MONTREAL
JONATHAN FEMI-COLE
RB | WESTERN

Despite not fitting into Western’s scheme as well as some Mustang football fans assumed, this on-and-off power runner has the frame to make a living in the CFL and lists current Montreal Alouette James Wilder Jr. as the player that inspired him to become a professional football player. Match made in French football heaven?

5 (34). CALGARY
DANTE BROWN
K | FORT HAYS STATE

Brampton native Rob Maver is out in Calgary. After Maver’s retirement, Mississauga’s Dante Brown could make sense at this value.

6 (35). SASKATCHEWAN
BLESKA KAMBAMA
DB | WESTERN

An OUA first team all-star, Kambamba is a solid depth pick with above average ball skills.

7 (36). HAMILTON
MARC LIEGGHIO
K | WESTERN

Mustang kicker out, mustang kicker in? It’s possible for the Ticats to invest in the multiple award winner.

8 (37). WINNIPEG
LIAM O’BRIEN
FB | SMU

A converted quarterback, O’Brien can add to Winnipeg’s specials right away and learn from Mike Miller on how to contribute in the CFL game.