Ferguson: 10 favourite picks from the draft

They might not have the biggest impact, or feature the biggest name brands, but each year there are certain selections that make me smile when they flash across the CFL.ca draft tracker.

These are the players who have a unique skill set, find the right fit, get taken by the team I hoped they would or just impressed me in the winter months with their in-game performance or athletic testing.

These are those players for 2020.

» In the Books: Recapping the 2020 CFL Draft
Draft Tracker: See where each pick landed
BC Bound: Lions trade up to take Williams first overall
» A team-by-team look at the 2020 Draft

10 – Laval DB/LB Adam Auclair 6th overall to the Ottawa REDBLACKS

I thought Auclair would go to Ottawa at 10th overall, but to prioritize him at 6th in the draft sent a strong message that I love. Clearly GM Marcel Desjardins, his staff of scouts and coaches are dedicated to upgrading and improving their national talent without staying stagnant.

Auclair will bring a great deal of variety and creative playmaking to the REDBLACKS while evolving into a CFL All-Star at free safety in due time.

9 – McMaster DB Noah Hallett 18th overall to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers

His brother Nick – who he’s been training with during the pandemic – was a standout Bombers draft pick last year. Noah’s down hill attacking style is perfect in Richie Hall’s rally-to-tackle defence and his demeanour will make the Winnipeg die hards fall in love quickly.

8 – York RB Kayden Johnson 58th overall to the BC Lions

Wayne Moore was a former college teammate of mine who bounced around Montreal and Ottawa before landing in Vancouver and finding his fit as a powerful special teamer with unique size for a running back but the speed to avoid being labelled as a fullback.

Kayden Johnson follows that same template and when paired with Moore will create one of the more imposing national special teams tandems in the CFL while also pushing for carries with 2019 Lions pick out of Manitoba Jamel Lyles.

7 – Virginia REC Dejon Brissett 2nd overall to the Toronto Argonauts


Target locked. Target acquired.

They wanted the best receiver, they got the best receiver. He’s a Toronto guy which helps the Argos stay on their recent brand kick of acquiring local talent and will be sure to compliment the return game with Kurleigh Gittens Jr.

6 – UBC REC Trivel Pinto 12th overall to the Calgary Stampeders

I believe in second chances and I have talked to enough people to know how great a player and person Trivel Pinto is. Placed in the structure of Calgary with an offence tailor made to production and paired with 2019 1st round pick Hergy Mayala? Home run.

5 – Guelph REC Kian Schaffer-Baker 30th overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders

The value here for Craig Dickenson and Jeremy O’Day was just too great and the body type is reminiscent of last years first round selection Justin McInnis. Regina football fans will love the length and explosive ability of this receiving core if they can get McInnis, Schaffer-Baker and Brayden Lenius activated and on the same page.

4 – Manitoba DL Brock Gowanlock 66th overall to the Montreal Alouettes

Canadian Gabriel Knapton. He plays the same speed from snap to whistle regardless of where the ball is and could develop into one of the true steals of the 2020 draft if he masters special teams.

3 – Ottawa DL Alain Pae 13th overall to the Edmonton Eskimos

It’s so perfect that a nationally classified player with global football experience reaches up to the top of the second round. Pae has played only one year of Canadian football in 2017 but his Gee-Gees film showed above average athleticism ready to be unlocked and a strange sense of how to handle all the movement and angles of Canadian offences despite a lack of experience.

If Kwaku Boateng and Mathieu Betts teach him any of the finer points on pass rushing in the CFL, watch out.

2 – Ohio QB Nathan Rourke 15th overall to the BC Lions


Mike Reilly and Nathan Rourke. YES PLEASE.

I’ve talked to Rourke enough in the last month to know he’s a smart, savvy and motivated student of the game. For those reasons I know he’ll pick the brain of Reilly, Lulay and anybody else whose ever thrown a Canadian football on the west coast. Somebody get Guilio Caravatta’s number to Rourke quick!

1 – Waterloo REC Tyler Ternowski 27th overall to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats

I’m a sucker for the hometown hero stories, always have been and always will be but this is about more than that. Ternowski is the easiest kind of player to cheer for. He doesn’t just battle being marginally undersized he ignores it and produces on the field regardless of offence, surroundings, role he’s asked to play or amount of reps given.

The Ticats have had success the last two years with diminutive Brandon Banks as their star wide receiver. Could they potentially add back-to-back shifty national slots to the zoom party chat now with Idaho’s David Ungerer III and Ternowski? We play the waiting game for now until we find out together.