One of the many pleasures I find each year in the CFL Draft is players going to the right place at the right time.
Perhaps this could be a result of the team attacking a glaring need. Other times it only becomes apparent after developing for a few years within that clubs given system. The reality is only about 20 per cent of CFL drafted players will get the patience from teams to find their fit in the organization.
With that as a brief framework to a much more complicated equation, here are my top-10 favourite ‘fits’ from the 2023 CFL Draft.
MORE CFL DRAFT COVERAGE
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» Gentle Giant: Vandal remains calm as last pick in the draft
» Recap: CFL Draft answers lingering questions
» Top Dog: REDBLACKS take Dontae Bull first overall
» Elks take Carabins’s LB Michael Brodrique with second pick
» Riders dive into draft with Lake Korte-Moore at third overall
» Mock Draft 2.0: Who did Marsh say was going first overall?
» More CFL Draft news and notes
» Results: 2023 Global Draft
» Global Draft: REDBLACKS take DL Blessman Ta’ala first overall
Second overall: Montreal LB Michael Brodrique, Edmonton Elks
While it came as a surprise to many — including myself — that Brodrique went this high in the draft, it was by no means a shot at his abilities. There were many talented players available on the board but the second Edmonton went with the standout Carabins linebacker you could see the fit. Chris Jones gets a physical, well built prospect with downhill experience in the run game and elite lateral quickness to feature prominently on special teams.
Fourth overall: Northern Illinois REC Cole Tucker, Calgary Stampeders
The Calgary Stampeders under Jake Maier have been feeling out better ways to stretch the field, while increasing their efficiency in the shallow crossing zone and short sidelines. Cole Tucker fits all of this well as he quickly becomes an impact player, especially after learning about Jalen Philpot needing some time to recover from injury at the beginning of training camp.
Sixth overall: Saskatchewan OL Dayton Black, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
With only 12 starts at offensive tackle, this former high school quarterback standout was viewed by some as a reach, but Chris Van Zeyl is one of the best tacticians and teachers of the position anywhere across the CFL. With Black as his understudy this six-foot-six prospect with a ‘yes sir’ attitude will be up to speed in Black and Gold in a year or two.
Tenth overall: Mount Allison DB Lucas Cormier, Ottawa REDBLACKS
The REDBLACKS are building a locker room culture based on team-first competition and athleticism that fits needs. For Bob Dyce’s special teams group the likes of Marco Dubois, Jackson Bennett, Justin Howell, Ty Cranston and now Cormier has made one of the best core units in the CFL even better.
Eleventh overall: Regina Rams DB Jaxon Ford, Saskatchewan Roughriders
This is about much more than family ties, with Ford’s grandfather Al Ford being a former player and once serving as the Riders’ GM. The Riders went defensive line with Lake Korte-Moore in the first round, which was also a solid pick. Following it up early in the second with the big bodied, smooth running of Jaxon Ford is exceptional. His ability to read the game from depth and charge downhill has him right at home in Regina, where he’ll play on the field he called home as a Rams standout.
Thirteenth overall: Laval FB David Dallaire, Montreal Alouettes
The Alouettes are going to run the ball with Stanback, Fletcher, Antwi and now Cody Fajardo at quarterback. Having a Swiss Army Knife at fullback who excelled in the province is a terrific selection.
Fourteenth overall: Guelph DB Siriman Bagayogo, BC Lions
The Lions already feature one of the longest defensive back groups in the CFL with Garry Peters and T.J. Lee starting. Now they add a National defender with a similar makeup to pair with first round defensive line pick Francis Bemiy. A job well done by Neil McEvoy and Rick Campbell in BC.
Sixteenth overall: Pitt REC Jared Wayne, Toronto Argonauts
The Double Blue had to wait almost two hours to make a selection, but when they did I loved it. Jared Wayne is going to get his NFL chance and he deserves it. The Argos don’t need a ‘play now’ fix kind of player, as they’ve already done a great job building out talented National depth. What you have is a marriage of a player chasing their dreams and a team willing to wait, while preventing Wayne from reaching the REDBLACKS’ territorial selection at 17th overall.
Thirtieth overall: Delaware State RB/FB Thomas Bertrand-Hudon, Saskatchewan Roughriders
A big bodied, versatile back with special teams experience and the size to battle anywhere on the big CFL field. Saskatchewan gets a quality player at a great depth.
Forty-ninth overall: Saint Mary’s FB/TE Sebastian Howard, Calgary Stampeders
One of the CFL Draft’s most intriguing body types joins a host of unicorn body shapes and sizes in the Stampeders’ offensive skill unit. Howard should see some action quickly if he can refine some of the new backfield tasks assigned to him in training camp.